Our Song

A Memoir of Love and Race

Non-Fiction - Memoir
328 Pages
Reviewed on 04/23/2024
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Author Biography

I'm a retired professor of health and human sexuality who, after only publishing a bit in my 20's and then focusing on career, finally came back to creative writing later in life. Since then my work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and more. I also blog on my website lyndasmithhoggan.com. But I always knew that I wanted to write this book, the story of my first real love - with its coming of age theme, the deep feelings of the young, historic era in time, exciting crossover music, and his gorgeous letters to me which I still treasure.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Lynda, a white university student, and JT, a black athlete from the inner city, share a deep connection from the moment they first meet. Despite the distance between their schools, they continue to express their longing for each other through letters and poems. Their chemistry is undeniable, but external forces such as racist parents, a jealous friend, and a prior lover make everything complicated for them. Now, four decades later, they have the opportunity to reconnect and explore their feelings again, but the question remains whether they can overcome the past obstacles that tore them apart. Our Song: A Memoir of Love and Race by Lynda Smith Hoggan is a poignant reflection on love, identity, and the power of friendship. Set against the backdrop of the social upheaval of the 1970s, the book chronicles Lynda's journey as she navigates a complex web of emotions and circumstances involving two men, Will and JT, while dealing with personal struggles.

Lynda Smith Hoggan skillfully weaves love, desire, and guilt themes into the narrative, drawing readers into the intimate world of her innermost thoughts and emotions. Through a series of heartfelt letters exchanged between Lynda and JT, the reader is taken on a journey of self-discovery and connection as the two navigate the challenges of distance, racism, and societal norms. One of the most emotionally charged moments in the book is when Lynda finds herself torn between her longing for JT's affection and her relationship with Will. Her portrayal of the conflicting emotions and difficult choices makes her come across as genuinely flawed and vulnerable. Similarly, the portrayal of Lynda's friendship with Colleen creates heartwarming moments and highlights the beauty of friendship. Another compelling aspect is the vivid depiction of the social and political landscape of the 1970s, including the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the counterculture youth rebellion. This historical context, as experienced through Lynda's eyes, augments the narrative's authenticity and provides a richer understanding. Overall, Our Song is a beautifully written and profoundly moving memoir that will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Lynda Smith Hoggan's candid exploration of love, identity, and friendship is compelling. And, yes, this memoir reads like a well-crafted fiction.