CW: violence against LGBTQIA+ folks, graphic violence, mistreatment of women
While on vacation, I make it a point to finish at least one book. I’m the type of person on vacation who I enjoy downtime. If a vacation feels jam-packed, I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. The book I chose to read was Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby. I heard about Razorblade Tears as it was one of the books included in the Book of the Month book box. While I’m glad I read Razorblade Tears, I’m having a hard time giving this book a rating.
Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee Jenkins are grieving. Their sons, Isiah and Derek were brutally murdered. The police don’t seem to care or in Ike and Buddy Lee’s eyes, they aren’t doing enough. Ike and Buddy Lee want to redeem themselves since they didn’t accept Isiah and Derek’s relationship and marriage. Their quest leads to corruption and a big reveal of irony in the South.
Razorblade Tears is a tough book to read in part because Ike and Buddy Lee are homophobic and this book centers around their journey for revenge and acceptance. It’s difficult to see this through their eyes. While Ike and Buddy Lee are born and raised in the South, I find it difficult that they couldn’t look past their bias and accept their sons. I didn’t realize Ike and Buddy Lee would be as homophobic as this book points out, I went into this thinking that Ike and Buddy Lee had relationships with their sons when clearly that wasn’t the case.
Despite the emotionally heavy content of the book, I do think there are a lot of interesting conversations that occur. Buddy Lee is a poor white man who lives in a beat-up trailer. He often makes comments to Ike about how he wishes he could trade places with him. Ike is a working-class black man who points out to Buddy Lee that he is able to exist in the world differently because of the color of his skin. It’s a pull of race and class privilege and how this can impact relationships or political opinions.
Per the content warning, there is a lot of graphic violence. As mentioned, this book is centered around Isiah and Derek’s deaths. In my opinion, I think the author went into WAY too much detail about their deaths. I don’t see why that was needed. Women are also mistreated by several male characters.
This was an emotionally heavy book to read. I would heed the content warnings as this book is tough to get through. I’m going to leave this book unrated which is a first for me. I’m glad I took the time to read this and I feel for all the people who don’t have family who accepts them for who they are.