Ms. Malcolm Hughes: Lady’s Man by Dr. Obari Cartman
Dr. Obari Cartman’s book, Lady’s Man, is a piece of writing that causes me to feel an array of emotions. The premise of the book is quite genius–“conversations for young Black men about manhood and relationships.” To date, a lot of the focus from writers has been on educating women about men, but who is teaching, or talking to, men about men? It is a much needed conversation, and the book makes a solid drop in that bucket. For that reason I recommend that this book is worth purchasing, reading, gifting, and sharing; however, it is not perfect.
My issues with the book are not many, in fact, there is only one. I should preface this by saying I’ve never been a man, nor have I ever raised a man, so feel free to pushback on anything that is way off base.
My most significant issue with the book is that while reading it I feel a constant desire to know more of the author’s story. No one likes the feeling of being preached at, and for most of the book, though unintentional, it feels like a distant critique. What do I mean by this? The advice seems valid, there are some quality gems dispersed, but without the background experience of the author it begins to feel a bit like another outsider attacking what they do not understand. Thankfully this begins to change in the final chapter. But before we get there, lets focus on the positive aspects of the book.
It is evident that the book is written for young adults in a manner that causes them to question and self-analyze. Those are both important habits that are not always taught in the home, or school, so it is important that this is a key component of the book. The historical tidbits of information included throughout the book are all helpful and educational moments, without feeling overwhelming. Although there are topics that I wish would have been discussed more in depth. For instance, the way that Black people in America have always been viewed through the lens of a financial asset and not as humans. Most important is that I admire how Dr. Cartman is attempting to cultivate a mental shift; not just in the way the sexes interact, but in how young men interact with themselves–by becoming more emotionally aware. If for no other reason, this book should be purchased to assist in the fostering of such a sensitive and imperative identify shift.
In reflecting, I guess other than minor editorial oversights, my one significant issue with the book is a personal preference. Chapter 5 is where Dr. Cartman chooses to share his personal story with the reader. The story is intimate and creates a culmination that explains his desire to create such a guide for young men. However, after reading the book I still wanted to know more about his personal experiences and how they have impacted his continued development and path to “manhood.” I believe the book would feel more cohesive if those stories would have been included throughout the book, not just in the final chapter. However, as stated earlier, this is only my personal preference and does not deduct from the transformative conversations that the book can help create.
If you’re looking for all the answers, you won’t find them here. Yet you will find a tool that guides you in the direction of asking the right questions, which is critical to you discovering your own answers. Overall, I think the book is worth reading and supporting. It can be purchased on his website.
The current read is: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.
Our deadline for the books is February 2016.
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As always, Love and Hug More!
-Ms. Malcolm Hughes
Ms. Malcolm Hughes is the editor-in-chief of For Your Black? Conscious. She is a Chicago, IL native–from the city, not the suburbs–strategizing in Washington, D.C. She loves pizza and challenges you to find her a better pie than she gets back home. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter @fybconscious.