Words Wednesday is a weekly tag (created by me!) where each week you share a word, quote, or phrase that you’ve come across over the course of the week. Content can be from books, movies, songs, or even you’re really wise and poetic friend. If you want to participate, share your post in the comments and I’ll edit the post to add your link!

Hi everyone! This week was truly a wild one, with it being the end of January and also the beginning of February, meaning that we’re still in the dead of winter but also spring activities are starting and I have so many blog posts that need to be published right at the beginning of months! Because of that, I’m pulling from a book that I finished a couple of weeks ago, and that’s “Luster” by Raven Leilani.

“’I’m an open book,’ I say, thinking of all the men who have found it illegible.”

Luster, by Raven Leilani

There were so many incredible quotes to choose from in this book that it was hard to choose just one. I’ll get into this more once I write a full review, but Leilani’s book was truly an artform in and of itself. If you’re looking for the correct way to write what essentially is a manic pixie dream girl, but from the perspective of the girl herself, this is the way to do it. Luster is about a young black woman named Edie who just can’t catch a break in life. She struggles at her job (which isn’t even what she really wants to do), at dating, at relationships, and at paying her rent on time. And then she meets Eric, an older- married- man, and her life takes a turn. Notice that I didn’t say for the better. This book was depressing as fuck.

What I loved about this quote was the way it differentiated between being hard to read, and not wanting people to read you. Edie wants to be understood and heard and seen for who she is, and so she would consider herself to be “an open book”. Throughout, she is putting her emotions out there in such a strong and honestly emotionally devastating way, begging for someone to see her entire self and accept it. To know who she was top to bottom and then want to be with her, whether that “being with” means hiring her to create art, or engaging in an emotional relationship. Despite all of this, despite the yearning that is so raw on the surface of every single sentience of this book, Edie is not understood. She opens up and tells Eric things that she would never tell another human, and yet he still doesn’t actually see her. That dichotomy is at the center point of this book.

On the surface, I shouldn’t be able to relate to Edie that much. I am white, I am secure in my job, and I have a stable relationship. But it’s quotes like these that cut me open and made me relate to Edie even while a part of me didn’t want to. Luster is a book where you almost want to distance yourself from it. And then there’s the sentences like this one where you’re like “damn. is that me? am I putting myself out there for no reason?” I have a bit of a “nobody understands me” complex, despite everyone telling me that I’m super transparent with my emotions. Everyone thinks that I cannot hide my thoughts, that everything there is to know about me I will tell you. That’s true to a considerable extent. Even writing this paragraph it’s obvious that I don’t exactly hold my emotions close to my chest. Why, then, do I feel like there’s so few people who truly understand me?

Raven Leilani’s book (which I read in audiobook form) was a bit like listening to poetry, and it would have been unfair to her talent if I didn’t include her in a Words Wednesday eventually.

What incredible quotes have you guys read this week? If you want to participate, don’t forget to link your WW posts below and I will edit this post to add yours so that everyone can read them!