This Will Be My Undoing (book review)

This Will Be My Undoing Graph

This Will Be My UndoingTitle: This Will Be My Undoing

Author: Morgan Jerkins

Genre: Nonfiction — essays

Publication date: January 30th 2018; published by Harper Perennial

Rate: 5 stars

Goodreads: here; Book Depository: here

I was given an advanced reader’s copy (ARC) of this book by the publisher Harper Perennial in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed are my own.
The Book Depository link is an affiliate, so I make a small commission if you purchase this book using this link — note that this will not affect the price you pay whatsoever.

synopsis flower

This Will Be My Undoing is a collection of essays written by acclaimed author Morgan Jerkins. These essays center around three things: being a woman, being African American, and how those two intersect and define her role and the way she’s seen by others in America.

Although being an African-American woman is the center of the book, it is not the only thing that Jerkins discusses in her essays. The author writes about growing up black in a predominantly white academic community, studying at Yale as a person of color, starting a career as a writer, being religious, and dealing with mental health issues.

These essays are a study on American society, history, and culture of the twenty-first century.

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This book is mind blowingly good. It offers a deep, thorough, and careful analysis of American culture, society and history like no other book I have ever read — and I have read quite a few! Morgan Jerkins is an incredibly talented author who is able to unpack important and relevant symbols that are quite tricky to look at and judge objectively. She is able to look at a social setting and infer what everyone’s underlying interest and private thought is.

From the first to the last essays, she is able to draw in the reader as if she were a witch casting a spell on a helpless victim. Because of her first-hand experience growing up as a black girl in overwhelmingly white environments, she is able to expose clearly what the consequences (both positive and negative) of such an upbringing are. One essay in particular, titled “Monkeys Like You” which serves as an opening for the book, explores the differences of being a young white girl and a young black girl. The writer emphasises her desire to be like the pretty blue-eyed girls in the cheerleading team, her desire to be their friend, and her desire to be absorbed by their ways as a means to be accepted as a cool girl — in an effort to achieve high status in school dynamics.

Some essays, two that I can distinctly remember, are ironic and sarcastic pieces of advice. The second essay, titled “How to Be Docile,” profoundly mocks the traditional advice that has been given out to women throughout history, asserting their place in society as passive beings. I found these lists to be incredibly entertaining and outright hilarious. In my opinion, Jerkin’s voice really transpires here and takes the book into a completely different level.

One of the topics addressed in the book that fascinated me the most was the writer’s rise from a high-school student, to the accomplished writer she is today — published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Elle, The Atlantic, and more. It was heart-warming to follow her journey as she struggled with a lot of identity obstacles that stood between her and success as a writer. As someone who is conscious of the glass ceiling that still exists, it was curious to see how my experience as a white woman differs from Jerkin’s. Although we are women, the barriers we must transpose are not the same. And it is here that intersectionality comes into play.

Intersectional feminism is, in my opinion, a widely misunderstood concept. I know from personal experience (gained at debates and general ‘cafe talk’) that some people don’t believe that discrimination is not one-dimensional. A white woman and a black woman will face completely different challenges, and one of them will get the bad end of the deal when it comes to opportunity and representation — and we all know, even if only deep down, who that person will be. Jerkins explains this issue of intersectionality particularly well, especially when she describes her trip to Saint Petersburg, Russia.

My favorite essay in this collection has to be, without a doubt, “Black Girl Magic.” It is in this essay that I think Jerkin’s writing and genius stands out the most. In this essay, she unpacks what the concept of “strong black woman” is, how it is both damaging and positive for a black girl or woman, and what some empowering alternatives might be. She goes back in history to explain where this trope came from and she digs in our present-day pop-culture society to find embodiments of the trope. Because of this, we the readers are left with a deep and well-defined idea of what a “strong black woman” is and where it came from, and being exposed to media it will soon be clear that it is much-used stereotype.

Other incredibly important and relevant issues worked by the writer are police brutality, especially right after Trayvon Martin’s death; reformatting your way of thinking to discard from your brain racial-based assessment tools (judging ethnic minorities in light of white American society); and the twisted “color blind” mentality that has become close to mainstream.

Jerkins puts down her pen after writing a powerful paragraph that could not have been phrased any better. When looking back at her ten-year-old self, and accessing where she is now, she writes:

“Back then, I wasn’t opinionated; I was whiny. I wasn’t smart; I was foolish. I wasn’t accepted; I was taken in out of pity. I grinned. I grinned and I grinned and I grinned some more. What the experience taught me was that I had, in a sense, made it to a place where I was never supposed to be. Someone tried to put me in my place, but it was too late. I was already all up in the space, reading the same books, taking the same classes, studying with the same professors, and eating alongside them at the same dining halls. […]  They might have had the privilege not to conceptualize black women in their spaces, but now they saw them in the flesh, moving and navigating just like them. This was their nightmare and my joy.


You should’ve known I was coming.”

There are many more things to be addressed in this review, but I can’t get around to writing about all of them. You should totally read this book. It will leave you thinking, especially if you don’t support intersactionality, feminism, or believe that the African American experience differs greatly from that of the whites. I recommend this book with all my heart, and I am eager to read more articles and essays written by Morgan Jerkins.

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This book is coming out tomorrow!!! Are you excited to read it? Do you have any recommendations that might be similar to this? I would love to read your comments 😊

Radio Silence (Book Review)

Title: Radio Silenceradio

Author: Alice Oseman

Genre: Contemporary YA

Rating: 5 stars

Publication Date: February 25th 2016; published by Harper Collins Children’s Books

Goodreads: here


synopsis flower

“Hello. I hope somebody is listening.”

And so begins this incredibly precious novel written by the lovely Alice Oseman about a boy stuck at university following a path he’s not passionate about, a girl described as a “study machine”, and how art and creativity binds these two.

Radio Silence follows Aled, the shy genius creator of an insanely popular podcast on Youtube of the same title, and Frances, the brainy girl who excels at academia and posts her art online for the world to see. Against all odds these two lovable teenagers meet and their friendship develops over the art each one of them create, and post, anonymously online.

Original Book Trailer

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The Princess Saves Herself in this One (Book Review)

Title: the princess saves herself in this oneprincess

Author: Amanda Lovelace

Genre: Poetry collection

Rating: 4 stars

Publication Date: 14th February; published by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed are my own.

Synopsis – what’s it about?


The book is divided into four different parts: the princess; the damsel; the queen; & you. The poems included in the first three sections are an exploration of the author’s experience with several themes throughout her life so far, they range from bad break-ups to mother related issues. The final section is dedicated to the reader, a sort of quiet and assuring whisper to the ear by Amanda Lovelace herself.

The Princess Saves Herself in this One is being re-released, this time by Andrews McMeel Publishing, after the original version — which was self-published by the author — won Goodreads Choice Award for Poetry (2016).

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Favorite Graphic Novels and Comics (Top Ten Tuesday)

A genre I tend to read very little of is graphic novels/comics. I don’t know why, they have a lot of things that draw me to them but I end up archiving them on my ‘to-be-read’ shelves and rarely end up reading them.

However, the ones that I have read I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Moreover, this year of 2017 has revealed to be the one in which I read more books in these two genres, in part thanks to NetGalley and some publishers for sending me digital review copies.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted as per usual by The Broke and The Bookish, is dedicated to graphic novels and comics and I’m taking this chance to share which books I’ve read in the past and loved.


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It’s All Absolutely Fine (Book Review)

fineTitle: It’s All Absolutely Fine

Author: Ruby Elliot

Genre: Comics; Non-Fiction (mental health)

Rating: 4 stars

Publication Date: 31st January; published by Andrews McMeel

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis — what’s it about?


In this compilation of Ruby Elliot’s drawings she takes the reader on a journey through the ups and downs of life, basing it off her personal experience. She approaches a lot of different topics relating them to her mental health, discussing anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and her identity. While the topics at hand tend to be depressing she manages to talk about (or rather, draw) them with a positive message lurking underneath.

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The Rule of the Land (Book Review)

the-rule-of-the-land-coverTitle: The Rule of the Land

Author: Garrett Carr

Genre: Non-Fiction; Travel/Nature

Rating: 3.5 stars

Publication Date: 19th January 2017, published by Faber & Faber

Disclaimer: I was sent an ebook copy by the Publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis — what’s it about?

Author Garrett Carr traveled the broder between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on foot and by canoe, mapping the landscape as well. In light of the Brexit referendum that took place on the 23rd of June of 2016 the author tries to answer what the implications of a split between the European Union and the United Kingdom, of which Northern Ireland is a part of, would be to the people living near the border and their everyday lives. In order to contextualize this, he tells the story of both countries, with a focus on the borderland, from their formation, to the history between the Catholic/Protestant divide and to the 1990s and The Troubles.

Because the author also mapped the landscape surrounding the border — namely the places he references and tells the story of — those maps are included in the book, as well as some photos of said places, to give the reader a mental image of the background of the topic being discussed.

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Big Mushy Happy Lump (Book Review)


Title: Big Mushy Happy Lump

Author: Sarah Andersen

Genre: Comics/Humor

Rating: 4.5 stars

Publication Date: 7th March 2017

Disclaimer: NetGallery kindly gave me an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion



This is a collection of comic vignettes created by the author, Sarah Andersen. It’s done in the same style as her previous work, Adulthood is a Myth, from the perspective of a young woman as she deals with anxiety, stress, a carreer, relationships and other everyday things that make up adulthood.

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