I found “Unspoken: Toxic Masculinity and I How Faced the Man Within the Man” by Guvna B to be an honest and frank exploration into Guvna B/ Isaac Borquaye’s perceptions and vulnerabilities about what it means to be a man and the wider conversation about masculinity.
As someone who is also of Ghanaian descent, I was drawn to the book due to our shared heritage. And this is explored as he drew vivid pictures of growing up in East London juxtaposed with a school life in Essex. The contrast painted multicultural London (and all it entails, including race, gang culture and council estates) against the life he had at school and when he began to make music, which was equally compelling.
The title Unspoken speaks to the way Guvna B navigates through his grief, as the book explores the way he stopped communicating with his wife when he experienced the loss of his father. His processing of his loss, as well as subsequent losses were insightful and would act as a good guide for those bereaved.
Another element of the book I particularly enjoyed was the use of Guvna B’s lyrics throughout. This lead me to take time to read the book, as I had to stop reading to find and play the relevant tracks. Consequently, Guvna B has a new fan in me of his music.
Outside of that it was interesting to see how important, but also understandable, music was to this artist as he references gospel and other musical inspirations including fellow East Londoner Kano.
I found the book fascinating and timely, as many who will read this will have feelings of discombobulation as they navigate in this uncertain stressful world where we are bombarded with daily death numbers.
Turning to editorial issues as this is an ARC, some of the words ran together, which I presume will be rectified before final publication day. Also, I hope all the referenced photos are put into the correct placeholders, as these were missing from the ARC.
I’m currently participating in a number of reading challenges in order to diversify the types of books I would usually read in 2021. The challenges are PopSugar, Book Riot, Black Girls Read Too and the Black Card Book Challenge.
This book ticks the following categories:
- Black Card Book Challenge – A book by a celebrity
- Book Riot – A memoir by someone you’ve never heard of. If it wasn’t clear from the above, I had never heard of Guvna B before receiving this book. Following my reading of his book and being introduced to his music, he has been added to my playlists.
- Popsugar – A book by a blogger, vlogger, YT video creator or other online personality as Guvna B is not only a musician but also a podcaster. His podcast The Loss Tapes is available at Apple Podcasts and wherever else you get your podcasts.
***Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Inspire, an imprint of Harper Collins, for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.***
“Unspoken: Toxic Masculinity and I How Faced the Man Within the Man” by Guvna B is out on 18 February 2021 but is available to pre-order now from Amazon, independent bookshops, Foyles, Waterstones and The Book Depository (10% off).
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