Wednesday, October 5, 2016

ARC Review: You Can't Touch My Hair (And Other Things I Still Have to Explain) by Phoebe Robinson

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to ExplainTitle:You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain
Author: Phoebe Robinson
Publisher/Publication Date: Plume; October 4, 2016
Genre: Nonfiction; Essays; Autobiographical 
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

A hilarious and affecting essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson...

Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, which means that, often, her everyday experiences become points of comedic fodder. And as a black woman in America, she maintains, sometimes you need to have a sense of humor to deal with the absurdity you are handed on the daily. Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she's been unceremoniously relegated to the role of "the black friend," as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she's been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel ("isn't that . . . white people music?"); she's been called "uppity" for having an opinion in the workplace; she's been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she's ready to take these topics to the page and she's going to make you laugh as she's doing it.

Using her trademark wit alongside pop-culture references galore, Robinson explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is "Queen. Bae. Jesus," to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls, to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president, and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, "2 Dope Queens," to the top spot on iTunes. As personal as it is political, "You Can't Touch My Hair" examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise...

My Thoughts:

I like nonfiction and have read a handful of books this year, everything from history to rain, and even a book on architecture. Interestingly enough, though, I haven’t read a collection of essays before Phoebe Robinson’s You Can’t Touch My Hair (YCTMH). I liked this collection. Robinson did a good job of articulating her thoughts into a series of interesting essays ripe with serious subjects, valid and thoughtful critiques and insights, and humor.

YCTMH is probably one of my top favorite books this year. I seriously enjoyed reading it. Robinson got real with her personal experiences of growing up, discovering herself, her passion in life, and later being a comedian. Robinson dished out opinions on race, hair (yes, hair, which was among my favorite essays), gender, stereotypes, and equality—which are extremely relevant topics in 2016. There was also a lot of reference to pop culture sprinkled throughout; however, the synopsis pretty much states that—so, it wasn’t unexpected to say the least. I also really liked Robinson’s sense of humor. It really came through in YCTMH.

So, to end this review, I’ll start by saying that YCTMH was definitely insightful and worth the time it took to read it. Finally—just one more thing before I call it a day—there was so much about the book that I genuinely liked that if Robinson writes something else, I would definitely give it a try.
Rating 5/5

This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (Publisher) for this review, thank you!

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