As a writer, I’m often times discouraged when other authors are able to so eloquently put to paper an idea that I may have thought about. And Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl author/director/actress Issa Rae did just that in her debut memoir.
I first became a fan of Issa’s work when I stumbled upon her YouTube videos for Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Immediately, I became a fan, checking in routinely for the newest episode. I would watch these episodes while at work, laughing to myself at my desk as almost every situation J went through reminded me of something I had gone through in life: making friends while feeling awkward about talking to people, having a crush on a guy that some other broad was making moves on, and shunning that creeper, who just won’t take a hint. My college cheerleading coach watched the show as well, and even told me, “you know, as soon as I saw that show, I thought of you!” While that could’ve been taken as thinly veiled shade (what was she trying to say, I was awkward?), I told her, “right?!” (who am I kidding, I am awkward).
Years later when I heard Issa was writing a book, I was elated and couldn’t wait to read it. Unfortunately, it took several months after the book’s release for me to actually consume it in about 10 hours or so of commuter travel time.
To say the book was relatable is quite an understatement. Issa Rae had, in essence, written my life story.
While there were several instances in which our lives vastly differed, I found myself laughing hysterically over her pre-teen internet romances and remembering several of my own internet relationships that started with the simple term, “A/S/L”. Good times. Potentially creepy times, but good times nonetheless.
Issa did a masterful job of incorporating the parts of adolescence and adulthood that most awkward people go through, while still maintaining her comedic edge. And while the book, which reads like a collection of essays, thought processes, and (at times) dictionary, does touch on more serious matters in her life like the effects of her parents’ divorce on her relationship with her mom and dad, readers are given a sense of inspiration to other seemingly lazy folk with a dream of doing something better at its conclusion.
Side note: the vignette on why Black women should date Asian men is the best summation of what I’ve been saying to myself (and friends of mine who swear I have a fascination with Korean men) for years.
As I said before, Issa’s life felt so familiar to my own, that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. And when coupled with the fact that the book is written in a tone that embraces the reader, Issa felt less like an author shoving her story down my throat and more like a newly-made friend having a chat. With each chapter, I felt I got to know my friend better… and (not surprisingly) felt less awkward. Or less alone, rather.
If you’re awkward, enjoy a good read, have a thing for Issa, or would just like to experience a life unlike your own (or like your own), then I’d say go out there and get this book.
And that’s all I have to say about that.