Review: Nevertheless, We Persisted

Nevertheless, We Persisted: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage
Foreward by Amy Klobuchar, 
Hardcover, 320 pages,  9781524771966
Published September 4th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers


A powerful collection of essays from actors, activists, athletes, politicians, musicians, writers, and teens, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, actress Alia Shawkat, actor Maulik Pancholy, poet Azure Antoinette, teen activist Gavin Grimm, and many, many more, each writing about a time in their youth when they were held back because of their race, gender, or sexual identity--but persisted.

"Aren't you a terrorist?" "There are no roles for people who look like you." "That's a sin." "No girls allowed." They've heard it all. Actress Alia Shawkat reflects on all the parts she was told she was too "ethnic" to play. Former NFL player Wade Davis recalls his bullying of gay classmates in an attempt to hide his own sexuality. Teen Gavin Grimm shares the story that led to the infamous "bathroom bill," and how he's fighting it. Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr tells of her harrowing time in Auschwitz, where she watched her family disappear, one by one.

What made them rise up through the hate? What made them overcome the obstacles of their childhood to achieve extraordinary success? How did they break out of society's limited view of who they are and find their way to the beautiful and hard-won lives they live today? With a foreword by Minnesota senator and up-and-coming Democratic party leader Amy Klobuchar, these essays share deeply personal stories of resilience, faith, love, and, yes, persistence.

My Thoughts

Nevertheless, We Persisted is a collection of powerful essays about overcoming obstacles that stand in the way of your dreams. The essays are written by athletes, actors, activists, politicians, writers, teenagers, musicians, and more. Even though this book is geared toward young adults, people of all ages will be inspired by these essays.

From the foreword to the very last page, this book is full of wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration.
In this world where we are defined by our limitations and our inability to break through stereotypes, it's a breath of fresh air to read something so motivating. Every single essay deals with a different obstacle that each author had to overcome: prejudice, handicaps, sexism, and so much more.

There are many quotes that I've written down to look at when I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, but my favorite is "May you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles, the are the path."
Everybody struggles with something and the obstacles that we face not only challenge us, but make us stronger.

I wish there were more inspiring stories like this out there, especially for younger kids, to see that it can get better. They can achieve their goals through persistence, and that others have come before them, already paving the way. It's not easy, but so worth it.

*My thanks to Knopf for providing this review copy. This is no way influenced my opinions.