Record Details

Catalog Search

Survival math : notes on an all-American family / Mitchell S. Jackson.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at LARL/NWRL Consortium.
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Lake Agassiz Regional Library. (Show preferred library)

Current holds

0 current holds with 1 total copy.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Moorhead Public Library 921 JAC (Text) 33500013026851 Main Available -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781501131707
  • ISBN: 1501131702
  • Physical Description: xv, 315 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Shuster, Inc., 2019.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographic references (pages 293-315)
Summary, etc.:
With a poet's gifted ear, a novelist's sense of narrative, and a journalist's unsentimental eye, Mitchell S. Jackson candidly explores his tumultuous youth in the other America. Survival Math takes its name from the calculations Mitchell and his family made to keep safe--to stay alive--in their community, a small black neighborhood in Portland, Oregon blighted by drugs, violence, poverty, and governmental neglect. Survival Math is both a personal reckoning and a vital addition to the national conversation about race. Mitchell explores the Portland of his childhood, tracing the ways in which his family managed their lives in and around drugs, prostitution, gangs, and imprisonment as members of a tiny black population in one of the country's whitest cities. He discusses sex work and serial killers, gangs and guns, near-death experiences, composite fathers, the concept of "hustle," and the destructive power of drugs and addiction on family. In examining the conflicts within his family and community, Jackson presents a microcosm of struggle and survival in contemporary urban America--an exploration of the forces that shaped his life, his city, and the lives of so many black men like him. As Jackson charts his own path from drug dealer to published novelist, he gives us a heartbreaking, fascinating, lovingly rendered view of the injustices and victories, large and small, that defined his youth. --

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2019 February #1
    *Starred Review* In the second-person vignettes scattered throughout Jackson's latest work, close-call scenarios threaten both the lives and freedom of Jackson's family members. After escaping death or incarceration, their frequent refrain is, "Praise God!" Yet the sense one gets reading this portrait of an African American family is that, for many Black Americans, livelihood rests on blind chance more than divine intervention. Jackson—a former drug dealer who wrote The Residue Years (2013), a critically acclaimed novel; earned master's degrees; and received Whiting, Lannan, and TED fellowships—understands that he is the exception, not the rule. Rather than making the book about himself, Jackson takes the community that raised him as his subject, while recounting the constant calculations made in order to survive. The stories are shocking, but so is the setting: Portland, Oregon. Long considered a progressive utopia, the Portland of Jackson's childhood stands in stark contrast as an Every City, USA, whose Black population has to contend with poverty, violence, and a sordid white-supremacist history. Product-of-my-environment stories are common; beyond his candid self-portrayal as a willing-but-reluctant participant, what makes Jackson's take on this theme so compelling is his inquisitive and unflinching investigation of the conditions that shaped him. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

Mitchell S. Jackson&;s debut novel won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His honors include a Whiting Award and fellowships from the Cullman Center of the New York Public Library, TED, the Lannan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, PEN, NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts), and the Center for Fiction. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper&;s Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Guardian, and elsewhere. The author of Survival Math, he is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.

Subject: Jackson, Mitchell S.
African American men > Oregon > Portland > Biography.
African American families > Oregon > Portland > Biography.
Autobiography > African American authors.
African American families.
African American men.
Autobiography > African American authors.
Oregon > Portland.
Genre: Biography.

Additional Resources