Meet Clay Brown by Christina Milliner
Sistah Girls, I love Fall but there’s something about Spring that makes me feel all giddy inside. The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and everything feels optimistic.
The Spring also brings out some of the most anticipated books of the year, and one of those books was Meet Clay Brown by Christina Milliner. Set in Brooklyn, NY, the story follows a young black woman named Clay living with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).
She struggles with acceptance and understanding that she is worthy of unconditional love. The themes that are explored within the book are HIV awareness, religion, mental health/therapy, and hope.
I always connect deeply with fictional characters whose lives resonate with me. I love reading about characters that have struggles that readers can relate to because it makes me feel less alone.
I also enjoy reading about characters who heal, especially during this season, because that’s what Spring represents for me: newness and transformation.
Milliner’s writing is very clear and concise throughout the novel. From the very first sentence, “My name is Clay Brown, I’m 19, and I was born with HIV,” the reader already knows what the story is going to be about.
I rarely read a lot of fiction books, but this had a non-fiction feel to it because it focused on real-life issues.
Raw, gritty, and tough are words I would use to describe Milliner’s storytelling. Every scene was impactful and tugged on your emotions.
It is important for Black women to be aware of the virus because it hits us the hardest. According to the JAMA Network, the rates of sexually transmitted infections are highest and increasing in women of color.
This story took me back to the 90s when people were still learning about AIDS and the fear it invoked because there was so little information provided to the public during that time.
I was about ten in the 90s; I witnessed a lot of women who had become infected with AIDS and died. I knew little about the virus back then and thought (like many people during that time) that you could only contract it from having sex.
Stories like Meet Clay Brown debunked that myth while raising awareness and exploring Clay’s life in a way that allows people who have the virus to be seen as human.
Friendships are also a big theme in the book, you learn how shared experiences can connect a group of people together. Clay has an HIV support group with people who understand what it’s like to live with it.
Several challenges contribute to the epidemic amongst Black people and the stigma around the virus is one of them. This leads to a delay in seeking treatment.
Throughout the story, you realize all Clay wants is a chance to live the life she’s meant to live. Will she give herself a chance or allow fear to hold her back?
Sistah Girls, this novel is worth the read, let me know in the comments if you plan on reading it!
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