We Are Not Broken (Hardcover)
A book of stories written as a sweet love letter from a child to their fierce, loving, quintessential matriarch Grandmother known as Nanny. Growing up black and questioning their identity, Johnson shares the hard lessons passed on to them, their brother, and two cousins. Johnson makes you reflect on your own childhood, as well as those in your life who help shape you for the good and the bad. You are left wondering who you would be without certain people and how important family can be in influencing our decisions and even personality. We Are Not Broken truly embodies black joy and celebrates the beauty of being raised as a community. -Stephanie
New memoir from George M. Johnson, the bestselling author of All Boys Aren't Blue—a "deeply impactful" (Nic Stone), "striking and joyful" (Laurie Halse Anderson), and "stunning read" (Publishers Weekly, starred) that celebrates Black boyhood and brotherhood in all its glory!
This is the vibrant story of George, Garrett, Rall, and Rasul -- four children raised by Nanny, their fiercely devoted grandmother. The boys hold each other close through early brushes with racism, memorable experiences at the family barbershop, and first loves and losses. And with Nanny at their center, they are never broken.
George M. Johnson captures the unique experience of growing up as a Black boy in America through rich family stories that explore themes of vulnerability, sacrifice, and culture.
Complete with touching letters from the grandchildren to their beloved matriarch and a full color photo insert, this heartwarming and heartbreaking memoir is destined to become a modern classic of emerging adulthood.
About the Author
George M. Johnson is an award winning Black nonbinary writer, author, and activist based in the New York City area and the author of memoirs We Are Not Broken and All Boys Aren't Blue. They have written on race, gender, sex, and culture for Essence, the Advocate, BuzzFeed News, Teen Vogue, and more than forty other national publications. They invite you to visit them online at iamgmjohnson.com and on Twitter @IamGMJohnson.
"A deeply impactful account of intergenerational love that reveals the power of accepting young people exactly as they are while encouraging them to be ever more themselves. George Matthew Johnson has done it again!"—Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin
"George M. Johnson has done it again — they have written a beautiful book that will take up a honey-sweet and sun-warmed residence in my soul for a long time to come. We Are Not Broken is a gorgeous love letter to Black matriarchs who give everything to love, care for and protect their children. It’s about the importance of family and the unbreakable bonds that supersede blood and last far longer than a lifetime. While society constantly villfies Black boys before they can even reach puberty, We Are Not Broken shares stories about how love, care and the freedom to be soft and vulnerable can be not only healing, but life-changing."
—Aiden Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Cemetery Boys
“We Are Not Broken feels like a long conversation, like those that spill into the early morning. It is intimate. Revelatory. Powerful. George M. Johnson centers Nanny in this memoir, charting the importance she played not only in their life, but in the life of a sprawling, loving, and deeply complex family. Seen through their eyes (and some deeply touching letters from others), it’s the story of a brilliant Black woman and the invaluable lessons she taught all those who knew her. A must-read journey."
—Mark Oshiro, award-winning author of Anger is a Gift
"Love—deep, soulful, clarifying love—shines in George M. Johnson's writing like sunlight passing through a church's stained-glass windows. Their storytelling and the mission that propels the telling is always right on time."—Saeed Jones, award-winning author of How We Fight For Our Lives
“George Johnson writes emotions the way the greatest writers write characters. I've literally never read a book that made me feel so many layered emotions I'd forgotten or was afraid to accept. This is lush luxurious art doing hard messy heartwork.”—Kiese Laymon, award-winning author of Long Division
“Striking and joyful, this second memoir from George M. Johnson celebrates family and friendships and will make readers feel seen. This book is love!”
—Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Shout
"An intensely emotional, stunning read, Johnson’s memoir memorializes the legacy of their grandmother—and all of the Black grandmothers who have built the foundations necessary to ensure that their families would not only survive but flourish."—Publishers Weekly
"This sequel to All Boys Aren't Blue poignantly recalls author Johnson's childhood...Johnson, who grew up identifying as a gay, effeminate teen boy, shares how they always felt protected and loved within their family. There's not a lot of current literature that explores stories of young, Black, gay men. This accessible and reflective memoir helps fill that gap."—Booklist
"The stories in this book are full of joy, love, humor, and pain...Through this love letter to the matriarch of their family, Johnson highlights all the ways the world tried to break them but didn’t succeed."