WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE • WINNER OF A LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD • NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' PICK • STONEWALL HONOR BOOK • NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, KIRKUS REVIEWS, LIBRARY JOURNAL, AMAZON AND APPLE BOOKS • TODAY SUMMER READING LIST PICK • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY BEST DEBUT OF SUMMER PICK • PEOPLE BEST BOOK OF SUMMER PICK
A raw, poetic, coming-of-age “masterwork” (The New York Times)
Punch Me Up to the Gods introduces a powerful new talent in Brian Broome, whose early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys propel forward this gorgeous, aching, and unforgettable debut. Brian’s recounting of his experiences—in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory—reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in. Indiscriminate sex and escalating drug use help to soothe his hurt, young psyche, usually to uproarious and devastating effect. A no-nonsense mother and broken father play crucial roles in our misfit’s origin story. But it is Brian’s voice in the retelling that shows the true depth of vulnerability for young Black boys that is often quietly near to bursting at the seams.
Cleverly framed around Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “We Real Cool,” the iconic and loving ode to Black boyhood, Punch Me Up to the Gods is at once playful, poignant, and wholly original. Broome’s writing brims with swagger and sensitivity, bringing an exquisite and fresh voice to ongoing cultural conversations about Blackness in America.
BRIAN BROOME’s debut memoir Punch Me Up to the Gods is an NYT Editor’s Pick and the winner of the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, the GLAAD Award for Gay Nonfiction, the Publishing Triangle Randy Shilts Award, and was voted an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. He is a contributing columnist at The Washington Post.
Broome has been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King Writing Awards. He also won a VANN Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation for journalism in 2019. Broome's film Garbage won the Audience Choice Award at the Cortado Short Film Festival and was a semi-finalist in the Portland Short Fest. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Esquire, and Men’s Health.