"This moving debut is ingeniously told in its passage back and forth through lives and changing times. Sexton’s portrayal of the intersection of character and circumstance is astute and nuanced, showing how adversity is amplified by each era’s racial injustice."
— The Washington Post
"[A] moving debut novel." — San Francisco Chronicle
"[A] stunning debut novel... The book’s greatest strength lies in its characters. Evelyn, Jackie, T.C., and their family and friends are remarkably well developed, creating in the reader a wrenching empathy to their plights... A whole-hearted book that couldn’t be timelier, A Kind of Freedom challenges, illuminates, and inspires."
— The Riveter Magazine
"This luminous and assured first novel shines an unflinching, compassionate light on three generations of a black family in New Orleans, emphasizing endurance more than damage." — New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice
"Brilliantly juxtaposing World War II, the '80s and the post-Katrina present, Sexton follows three generations of a black New Orleans family as they struggle to bloom amid the poison of racism. The author's deep knowledge of her city and unerring ear for dialogue help bring her unforgettable characters to life." — People Magazine
"In her luminous and remarkably assured first novel, “A Kind of Freedom,” Margaret Wilkerson Sexton… shine[s] an unflinching but compassionate light on three generations of a black family in New Orleans who try to make the best choices they can in a world defined at every turn by constraint, peril and disappointment... For a debut novelist to take up such charged material is daring; to succeed in lending free-standing life to her characters without yielding an inch to sentimentality — or its ugly twin, pathology — announces her as a writer of uncommon nerve and talent... “A Kind of Freedom” attends to the marks left on a family where its links have been bruised and sometimes broken, but dwells on the endurance and not the damage. The force of this naturalistic vision is disquieting; it is also moving. One could say that it has the disenchanting optimism of the blues." — New York Times Book Review
"Following these characters through a changing United States that continues to enable plenty of Jim Crow-era behavior, A Kind of Freedom examines family, legacy, and the falsehood of the American Dream’s tenet that hard work will keep you safe."
— Read It Forward, Favorite pick of August
"A brilliant mosaic of an African American family and a love song to New Orleans...written with deep insight and devastating honesty but also with grace and beauty." —Dana Johnson, author of Elsewhere, California
"[A] compelling debut novel... Race, class, unemployment, drug wars and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina all factor into Sexton’s multigenerational tale, illustrating the persistent racial disparities in our so-called “post-racial” America."
— Mercury News
“Sexton’s wonderful debut traces a family through three generations in New Orleans—from a star-crossed romance in the 1940s to the crack epidemic of the 1980s to the unfathomable changes wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Injustice, hope, ambition, and the history and truth of New Orleans are the underlying subjects of this novel, explored through the stories of these well-drawn characters.” — LitHub
"This generational arc is largely related to systemic racism, but to simplify this novel as an exploration of such minimizes Wilkerson’s incredible achievement. Rather, A Kind of Freedom is a portrait of a family and a richly layered exploration of their sufferings... [W]hat is most remarkable about the tapestry of these stories is the way each person’s section is written a little differently from the last, like varying fabrics. Evelyn’s chapters and T.C.’s are written so distinctly that at times it feels like a completely different person wrote them. Wilkerson Sexton’s ability to change the style of writing to fit the time period is one of the most impressive aspects of the novel. Equally notable is how vividly each character is portrayed. Not only do each of the characters feel relatable, but they’re so fully realized that they stay with you long after finishing the story. That this multigenerational novel is a mere 228 pages and still manages to create such lifelike characters is an impressive feat... This remarkable debut marks Margaret Wilkerson Sexton as a writer worth watching." — Chicago Review of Books
"Three New Orleans generations make up Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s heart-wrenching novel, “A Kind of Freedom,” each suffering through desires, ambitions and brutal limitations... Sexton, who grew up in New Orleans but now lives in the Bay Area of California, tears at your heart with this multi-generational tale in which readers hope for the best for this family but know society’s limitations and empty promises will drag them down. And yet, hope remains. Or maybe the possibility of hope."
— Monroe News Star
"It’s hard to believe that A Kind of Freedom is Sexton’s first novel... Given the recent happenings in Charlottesville, Virginia, it’s hard to imagine a more relevant release date for this lovely, important book. This is a book for our time."
— New York Journal of Books
"Sexton’s handling of switchbacks between chapters featuring the different generations and characters is deft, swift and seamless, indicative of a more seasoned novelist." — The East Bay Times
"[A] powerful first novel, which traces the complex downward spiral of a black family over three generations... Despite the struggles, A Kind of Freedom glimmers with hope." — BBC Culture, 10 Books to Read in August
"Wilkerson Sexton’s debut novel is a poignant, deeply emotional and timely exploration of systemic racism in America. Told through the interconnected narratives of three generations of a New Orleans family, the work captures more than seven decades of history in one book without feeling overstuffed. Quite the opposite, actually: You’ll be left wanting to know more about these incredible characters’ circumstances, motivations and dreams, both realized and unfulfilled."
— PureWow, 1 of 9 Books We Can't Wait to Read in August
“Through each character's’ passion, resilience, and hopes, A Kind of Freedom reveals how the pursuit of a dream can lead to an individual’s demise or redemption and how sometimes it can simultaneously lead to both.” — Well Read Black Girl
"Sad, proud, provocative and quietly educational, with dialogue that credibly spans 70 years of black New Orleans vernacular, “A Kind of Freedom” begs for a screen adaptation. You wait and see." - Newsday