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Punch Me Up to the Gods

Drawing from deeply personal experiences with homophobia, addiction, and the myths of Black masculinity, Brian Broome’s memoir explores the many facets of identity and the heartbreaking, humorous, human journey to self-acceptance.

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<club-desc-paragraph>What does it mean to be Black in America? Or, more specifically, a Black gay boy in rural Ohio? Framed around Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool,” Brian Broome’s coming-of-age memoir explores the intersection of Black, queer, and traditionally “masculine” identities. Brian weaves his own experiences—heartbreaking and humorous, painful and poignant—with observations of a young Black boy and his father on a city bus. While Brian’s distinct voice shines on every page, his story speaks to a broader struggle: how to be oneself in a world that demands conformity. <club-desc-paragraph>

<club-desc-paragraph>Learn more about the author’s journey from shame to self-acceptance as he discusses addiction, recovery, representation, and the myths of Black masculinity. <club-desc-paragraph>

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<club-landing-h3>Background & Writing Process<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>Brian talks about his early writing life, his experience in rehab, and how group therapy became a writing class for him. Later, he talks about his favorite place to write.<club-landing-paragraph>

<club-landing-h3>Growing Up & Getting On<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>Brian speaks candidly about the anxiety of growing up poor and shares an anecdote from his recovery. He also talks about the power of self-forgiveness and how that translates into his approach to character.<club-landing-paragraph>

<club-landing-h3>Exploring Black Masculinity<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>Brian talks about how “We Real Cool,” a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, inspired the structure for Punch Me Up to the Gods. Later, he talks about the myths of Black masculinity and how they influence men’s emotional experiences.<club-landing-paragraph>

<club-landing-h3>Shifting the Narrative<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>Brian discusses how media depictions impacted his sense of self, including the lack of positive Black representation on TV and stereotypical depictions of Black queerness.<club-landing-paragraph>

<club-landing-h3>Embracing the Self<club-landing-h3>

<club-landing-paragraph>Brian tells the story of his first experience going to a gay bar. Later, he speaks openly about his relationship with cocaine and how shame and self-hatred fueled his addiction.<club-landing-paragraph>

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