Sim Kern: The Free People's Village (2023, Levine Querido) 3 stars

In an alternate 2020 timeline, Al Gore won the 2000 election and declared a War …

Hard to get into, but finished strong

3 stars

Going into the book, it was really hard to read the story through Maddie's voice. She was incredibly annoying, and reminded me a lot of being in university and meeting white college students who would "invade" local organizing spaces and center movements around themselves. I guess in a lot of ways, she reminded me of a younger version of myself that didn't know how to navigate my (relative) privilege in spaces, and maybe I'm embarrassed for that version of my self.

But somehow this story ended up resonating with me, and revealing a lot of the lessons that need to be learned if you want to try to make change in the world. This book felt very much grounded in Sim's own experiences in organizing, especially how large mass movements can be breeding grounds for conflicts between different (and often legitimate) tactics and approaches.

I think the book ends on a strong note, and it's a note that I have been reflecting on a lot. Simply, we all need to find joy in struggle, because we can't give up even in the face of staggering loss. The stakes are always gonna be high, and there needs to be a way to live joyously in spite of that.