SUBJECT: 4/5 CANDIDNESS: 4/5 WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 4/5 OVERALL: 4/5
“The hair hierarchy rates worth by length and texture of hair. The longer, the silkier and more European your hair, the higher your worth. The shorter, kinkier, and more African your hair? Kill thyself.”– Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
I was browsing on my Storytel app, looking for a light-hearted memoir that would provide me with some motivation as well as amusement. It was then that I came across this book called The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl written by an American celebrity called Issa Rae.
Now, I didn’t know who Issa Rae was and knew nothing about the work that she had done. But even then, I thought it was a good idea to discover a new voice, to delve deep into a stranger’s world and know all about her.
So, it was with such eccentric ideas, that I downloaded the audiobook and sat back listening to the mesmerizing and powerful voice of Issa Rae. Read on to know more about my thoughts on the book and about my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Expect a book that is an easy and fun read. Expect a book that has a generous dose of humor. Expect a book that tells you the story of an ordinary (and awkward) black girl who managed to rise and shine solely because of her effort, hard work, and creativity.
Who is Issa Rae?
Issa Rae whose full name reads Jo-Issa Rae Diop is an American actress, web creator, director, writer, and producer. She garnered interest and recognition after the huge success of her YouTube web series titled The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
She is also known for starring in the famous HBO television series Insecure which saw her getting a lot of recognition, fame and multiple award nominations.
What is the book all about?
Issa Rae starts with the days when she was just an ordinary person, much like you and me and talks to us about her early life – life at school, life at home, life with friends and life with her experimental boyfriends.
She also sheds some light on her awkward online adventures and her absolutely disastrous social life. She often narrates her struggles to fit in – be it with people within her community or with people outside hers.
She also talks to us about the things that are close to her heart – her family, her friends, family trips to Senegal, and her Senegalese roots. At the same time, she introduces us to her trysts and misadventures with the things that normally shape an individual – food, fashion, humour, music, high school and a lot more.
“It all made sense: my shyness, all the times I was dismissed for not being “black enough,” my desire to reframe the images of black film and television, which I started to do when I created a series in college called Dorm Diaries, my inability to dance—these were all symptoms of my Awkward Blackness.”– Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
Let’s talk about the author’s writing style
The author is quite candid when it comes to her early life and family. I like the way she doesn’t follow a linear approach in terms of chronology but places the chapters in a random manner. This is much more casual and perfectly suits her ‘awkwardness’ which becomes a familiar phenomenon after a while.
I like the way Issa Rae puts across her viewpoints; her voice is subtle yet assertive. This is a hold-nothing-back kind of book that doesn’t use the color card to score brownie points but tries to put across the simple fact that black isn’t different – and that it can and should be regular too. It is a book that refuses to adhere to stereotypes, be it of any color.
“Girls, New Girl, 2 Broke Girls. What do they all have in common? The universal gender classification, “girl,” is white. In all three of these successful series, a default girl (or two) is implied and she is white. That is the norm and that is what is acceptable. Anything else is niche.”– Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
Is the book interesting to read?
The book is entertaining because it’s fluffy and light. Issa Rae has a take on almost everything under the sun and her takes are not just unusual but also quite comical. While the book isn’t the laughing-out-loud variety, there is surely some good old (often self-deprecating) humour in those two hundred-odd pages.
The reason the book seemed particularly interesting to me was perhaps because I am an outsider and reading the book introduced me to a new group of people, their culture, their struggles, their life and their fight to be deemed regular.
In the end
In the end, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a book that is fun and light-hearted, which is candid and entertaining and that is both inspirational and informative. It is a great read for somebody looking to understand the cultural nuances of the African American race and for somebody who wants to learn a thing or two about how to survive the world.
The final verdict
Go for it!
Pick it up
- If you like reading biography and memoirs.
- If you are looking for a celebrity memoir.
- If you are looking for a black celebrity’s memoir.
- If reading about success stories of ordinary people interests you.
- If you are a fan of Issa Rae.
- If you are looking for a fun and light memoir.
- If you don’t enjoy memoirs.
- If you are looking for a book that only talks about racism and nothing else.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl using the link below.