Gurba is an extraordinary performer with an enthusiastic spoken word fan base, and the Mean's voice-driven quality should appeal to them directly
Rather than a memoir, this is a nonfiction novel, a la How Should a Person Be—Gurba's life provides the plot points, but a novelistic impulse provides the frame.
Gurba turns what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy, differentiating between “classic” (stranger rape) and “avant garde” (molestation by a classmate) sexual assault in a way that's in your face and unforgettable.
Race, class, gender, and sexuality all break open in unexpected ways in Gurba's hands. This is a confident, funny, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously.