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.– The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
Summary and Thoughts
Being an introvert in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award–winning hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” is that introvert—whether she’s navigating love, work, friendships, or “rapping”—it sure is entertaining. Now, in this debut collection of essays written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all.
I really wanted to like this book . . . but I really did not. Though Issa’s stories are not particularly unenjoyable (Her anecdotes gave me a better sense of who she was and her brand of “awkward.” They definitely have a humorous tone to them — though I wasn’t quite laughing.), the writing itself felt almost like a stream of thought rather than a deeply intentional, constructed collection of essays. Due to how short the book was, I was able to finish it within an afternoon, however, it was apparent early on that it would have been a slog to read had it been a lengthier text. I would like to say that perhaps these stories would be better suited for blog posts, but even then, perhaps they would need further editing for more concise entries.
As for aspects I liked: The ABG guides were well-done, both fun and insightful. Additionally, essays on Rae’s parents’ divorce gave a book another level of depth and understanding.
If you’re a fan of Issa Rae, then perhaps, even if you don’t enjoy the book, you will appreciate getting to know Issa Rae better, and for that reason perhaps I would cautiously suggest this book. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend picking it up.
For Those Who Enjoyed
- You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
- I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson
- Dear Girls by Ali Wong
2.5/5 (and extra .5 just for Issa Rae . . . )