Book Review- Don’t Let It Get You Down, Essays on Race, Gender and the Body, by Savala Nolan

By Sue Schechter, Berkeley Law

Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender and the Body, by Savala Nolan

Savala Nolan has written an important work that is a must-read for all who care about race and gender.  She is an incredible writer, so on some level, the book is easy to read – the sentences flow and the stories are funny.  But make no mistake, this book is also hard to read – it will be painful for any reader who is awake.  Nolan makes herself incredibly vulnerable and in doing so demonstrates her power and her kindness.  The stories she shares are painful because they are real, and because they are all too common.  She does not claim easy answers. She does not let us feel okay just because we are doing the work of reading her essays, which are really beautifully written with many sentences verging on a poetic leaning.  Instead, she presents her truth and leaves it up to the reader what to do with it.  For a legal audience, there will be interesting references, and for others there will be cultural references to relate to. And for all, this is a book that you should purchase for yourself, for your friends, for your neighbors, and for others in your community – it is a must-read this year given the world and all we are claiming to confront in these scary and sad moments.

Savala Nolan is the Executive Director of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley School of Law.  The book was recently published in 2021 by Simon and Schuster.