I didn’t plan it this way, but in the past year, I’ve read books by funny Black ladies. Here’s what I found.
Book 1: Luvvie Ajayi’s “I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual.”
I spent a little time with Luvvie while attending my first 2 Blogging While Brown conferences. I was so new to the world of blogging that I didn’t know the movers & shakers yet, but, it became pretty clear, pretty fast, that Luvvie was a star.
One of the guys at the conference suggested I ask Luvvie for techy help when I was looking to expand my blog into something bigger. We talked and she was willing to help me, but I decided to ride out my ignorance a little longer to see where it went.
It was after I got home did I start following Luvvie’s sites and began to understand what all the fuss was about.
When I learned she had a new book, I picked it up almost immediately. Unfortunately, I put it down almost just as fast. The book just didn’t do anything for me. It’s not that it’s bad, or not funny at times, or even interesting. I just think it was written almost specifically for millennial ladies.
Obviously, those millennial ladies turned the book into a best seller and Shonda Rhimes bought the rights to create a comedy series.
It’s only fitting that I didn’t like the book if Shonda Rhimes liked it. I don’t like any of Shonda Rhimes’ TV show despite their popularity and success. Who am I to question what’s good or bad if Shonda says it’s good?
I still love you Luvvie, but that book wasn’t for me.
Book 2: Tiffany Haddish’s “The Last Black Unicorn.”
I never heard of Tiffany Haddish. She was interviewed on the ‘Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ and I could tell he really enjoyed the book, so I decided to give it a shot.
Haddish tells her rags to almost riches story full of multiple family dramas, crazy boyfriend relationships, and maniacal career encounters. Ms. Haddish knows how to tell a story and locked me in so tight that I nearly became an Olympic Speed Reader to get to the next story.
Despite being crazy funny, she tells a great story of how to overcome a terrible childhood, illiteracy, and poor self-esteem. If it didn’t have such adult detail, it would be a great book for teen girls struggling with some of the same challenges.
If you want to laugh at authentic Black-Girl-Crazy, this book will not disappoint.
Book 3: Samatha Irby’s “We are Never Meeting in Real Life.”
I never heard of Samatha Irby. A guy told me he was reading it, and I know he don’t read no mess, so I gave it a try not even knowing what it was about.
This may be the funniest book I’ve ever read. Strangely, a lot of the material is not funny at all. It’s dark, and depressing, and humiliating. The word suicide is mentioned more than I wanted to hear. Yet, there’s a laugh on every page and on some pages, every paragraph.
Haddish and Irby sort of come from the same place of being forced to grow up way earlier than they should have because of dysfunctional parental dynamics and mental illness. Irby had the additional burden of being overweight and unattractive, but smart, where Haddish took advantage of being pretty, but dumb.
Irby shares intimate details of dealing with body shaming, bad relationships, and depression. But Irby really knows herself better than most people know themselves. You’d think it would help her create better decisions, but, I guess life has a way of enrolling all of us in the School of Hard Knocks.
Irby is a brilliant writer. Her mastery of funny turns depressing topics into a laugh out loud just by her sentence structure and word choice. And, her two-way conversations with her cat, Helen Keller, is some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read.
I wish I could have got more into Luvvie’s book, but it just didn’t keep my attention. Tiffany Haddish has that ‘round the way girl’ humor that I couldn’t get enough of. Samatha Irby is a master writer and covers a lot of ground with a lot of density in every sentence.
There something for everyone here if you’re looking for a page turner to make you chuckle. You can’t go wrong.