Reviews for This Bright Future

by Bob Hall

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Nonfiction debut from the multiplatinum hip-hop artist. It’s not a spoiler to say Hall’s cheerily titled memoir has a happy ending; fans of the 31-year-old chart-topping rapper, known as Logic, likely already know much of his story, which is remarkable in many ways. The brutal details of the physical and emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his parents are wrenching, though the author takes pains to offer explanations for some of their behavior. Though he says he no longer speaks to her, Hall has some understanding for his abusive mother; he believes she suffered from bipolar disorder. “As traumatic as it was for me to live with her,” he writes, “I can only imagine what it’s like for her to live with herself….Someone who’s sick the way my mother was sick is held captive by...this other side of themselves. Eventually they succumb, and those dark, disturbing voices become the only ones they can hear.” The author’s ability to quickly provide layered descriptions of the people in his life shows why he is a successful rapper, with Grammy-nominated hits like “1-800-273-8255,” and bestselling novelist (his 2019 debut novel, Supermarket, topped many lists). It’s telling, though, that he can’t quite see the most interesting details about himself—or, perhaps, he chooses to put those aside to focus on how he survived his childhood abuse and run-ins with racism and bullying. Hall devotes most of the book to those struggles and the repeated cycles of pain he has endured, while the parts about his successes seem rushed, including his explanation of why he decided to retire from rap at the age of 30. (He unretired earlier this year.) His reasons for this may be related to his explanation of why he wrote “1-800-273-8255.” “I never made my music to inspire anyone but myself,” he writes. “I made my music to pull myself out of a dark place.” Hall’s tale of overcoming trauma is inspirational and intriguing but bogs down in the repetitive slog through his troubles. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.