With what may go down as one of the best opening lines to a first chapter in a memoir, YouTube web series innovator Issa Rae begins her memoir. The opening sentence also sets the stage to the horrible, terrible, no good, very bad awkwardness found in Rae’s February 2015 release, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
I first came into contact with Issa Rae randomly. During a study break, I began watching a mockumentary about a real rap group The Fly Guys on YouTube. The understated humor and witty dialog kept me in stitches. From there, I began to watch Issa Rae’s older work “Dorm Diaries” about a group of students living and learning on a college campus. When Rae first dropped her promotion for another series The Misadventure of Awkward Black Girl, (ABG) I was ecstatic. FINALLY a character with whom I related. ABG’s Jay was not ultra sexy, ultra sassy, ultra wise or ultra I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T (no Webbie). Instead, she was someone who lived in her head, didn’t always know how to act in certain social settings and embarrassed herself on occasion. In other words, my kind of person. Given my enjoyment of Issa Rae’s web series, I was thrilled when it was announced that she’d be releasing her memoirs The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. She did not disappoint.
While reading The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, one thing that stood out to me was how careful Rae was. It felt as if Rae considered the weight of each word before writing it, adding a level of honesty to ABG. At times, the book made me cringe in awkward horror, have flashbacks to my highlight reel of awkward moments, cry tears of frustration, admire Rae’s courage and ponder my future. It is very easy to turn Issa Rae into the Patron Saint of Black Awkwardness and forget that she is human. However, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl revealed that Issa Rae is Jo-Issa Rae Diop. A normal person whose life has had its normal shares of triumphs and downfalls.
Through a mixture of anecdotes, self-reflection, social observations and business acumen, Issa Rae shares her life experiences in a way that left me hopeful. While Rae admits that she’s had her awkward moments, she also shows her weeble wobble-like resilience in The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
Would I Recommend?
I have been sitting on this review for several weeks. While I enjoyed it, I am also a big fan of Issa Rae’s work. I admire her dry and witty humor. For this reason, I recommend watching a few episodes of Dorm Diaries, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl or Fly Guys prior to checking this book out.
If the humor found in the above web series appeals to you, READ THIS BOOK NOW.
(All books are rated on a scale of 1-5 Lilies explained here.)