In an alternate 2020, in which Al Gore once won the presidency and Democrats have held court for 20 years…we still live in an economically and racially unjust, imperialist, carceral state (now with more greenwashing!), and teacher and punk band guitarist Maddie Ryan finds herself and her community forever changed when she stands against the building of a new hyperway through the Black 8th Ward she’s inadvertently helped gentrify and gets swept up in a revolution. Achingly real, bitterly funny, and deeply moving, The Free People’s Village is a commentary, both compassionate and cutting, on the woke white activist’s journey and, above all, a full-throated ode to resistance and the found family that fuels it.
The Free People’s Village by Sim Kern, (List Price: $26.99, Levine Querido, 9781646142668, September 2023)
Reviewed by Megan Bell, Underground Books in Carrollton, Georgia