For the longest time I’ve wanted to share more reviews on the books I read since a few of you usually ask me about the books I post on my social media. Well, I am happy to announce that I will endeavour to have a book review at least every other month, dependent, of course, on the speed at which I read each book because it usually varies from book to book. I thought I would start with one of my favourite reads of the year: The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae.
Now, I’m not sure why I took to this book so well, perhaps because of the extremely relatable life occurrences of Issa, or the super hilarious writing style that Issa has that kept me reaching for the book at each moment of free time I had.
The book is concise, not too long a read for non-avid readers, but quite the contrary for readers like me. I am by no means a member of #Bookstagram, however I do enjoy reading books because I am trying to build a little library of my own, something I hope to pass down to my future offspring, if God wills. I won’t go through heavily dishing out spoilers on the book in this post, however I will touch on a few things that resonated well with me and things I very much related to.
If there ever was something that I related to in a book, this chapter had to be one of them! Women and the battle with their weight has always been a thing. This is not to say that I’ve had issues with my weight, I only learned to grow comfortable with it less than a decade ago, but what I mean is that the relationship with food that Issa talked about having sounded very similar to mine, even right now. Having lots of people around me- family, friends, even acquaintances- always comment about my weight was something I learned not to take offence to much earlier in life. I was always left wondering what left people so fascinated about my weight. I mean, were they helping me carry it around or? Needless to say my mother’s consoling words were always, “It’s just baby fat, it’ll melt away when you’re older” were words that always made me take pride in that I would lose the weight. And so, I ate more. I’m still fat now though, only more confident in myself in knowing what other people say doesn’t really matter to me.
NATURAL HAIR HIERARCHY
Wow guys, I really feel like Issa was like my half sister in writing this book! Like her, it took me a really long while to embrace my natural hair and learn how to care for it. Before that journey started, I had probably shaved my head twice, once when I was about 5 years old and the next time when I was in primary school (only to relax my short hair and style it into a ‘blow-out’ that required truck loads of curl activator gel), and then proceeded to relax my hair right before I joined high school because my mum deemed it ‘easier to manage’. I’ll be honest, it definitely was easier to manage, given the fact that I could pass a comb through my hair every morning and wear an Alice band and remain in that hairstyle for the rest of the term.
And the I joined the high school swimming team.
That was the turning point.
Now, if I remember correctly, during my high school third term was the start of the swimming season in Kenyan schools, so we used to train everyday. Everyday after swimming all I did was let my hair air dry and apply pink lotion to my dry chlorine-filled strands and go about my day. Needless to say, a few months later I was left with only the peeking growth and had to significantly cut my hair.
Fast forward to a few years later, I stumbled upon my natural hair journey and have never looked back. Only thing I deal with these days is all the unsolicited comments/questions/suggestions I still get from (black) people who are shocked that I choose to wear my hair the way it grows out of my scalp. Lately, men in particular. But that’s a post for another day.
In case you didn’t know, Issa is half Senegalese. Surprising, right? Very delightfully so. I’m sure you all know a thing or 2 about growing up African. It feels like all African parents are cut from the same cloth, and Issa’s father wasn’t left out in that department.
Now, the biggest thing that resonated with me had to be the way she talked about having relatives from her father’s side live with them while she was growing up and to be honest I was so shook at the accuracy of it all, having come from literally the same kind of childhood. The way she wrote about it is probably the same way I would have described it word for word.
There’s definitely so much more I would say about this book to sing more of it’s praises, but I’ll stop there because anything more would probably be a summary of the entire book.
Issa is indeed my kindred spirit and for that I give this book a 9.5/10.
I got the book from Magunga Books, in case you might want to grab one as a gift for your Secret Santa/loved one.