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The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

Cover: 'The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl'

Staff Review: "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" by Issa Rae


Issa Rae is the creator, head writer and star of Insecure, a dramedy on HBO about the lives of a group of African American millennials. Watching that highly-entertaining series is what me aware of this book and Rae’s semi-autobiographical web series Awkward Black Girl (on which Insecure is based).

This book, chapter by chapter, outlines the various ways Rae has felt awkward and out of place compared to her peers. A large contributing factor to this is the family dynamic and upbringing Rae had while growing up. Born to a Senegalese father and an American mother, Rae and her family bounced around from Los Angeles to Senegal to Maryland and eventually back to L.A. all before she was in high school, which caused her to feel as though she was caught between two cultures (that of the modern U.S. and that of Senegal) and between two races. For example, Rae was bullied by black peers in Los Angeles for acting “too white” and also felt out of place as one of the only black students at her school in Maryland.

Along with Rae’s fun, self-deprecating humor, the thing I liked most about this book was how it put me into the shoes of someone so different than myself. While I do identify with certain aspects of Rae’s personality, I most enjoyed reading Rae’s thoughts and about life experiences so much different from my own.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, humor

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