I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams
on October 4th 2016
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Humor
Format: Audio, eARC
Source: Edelweiss eArc, Libro.fm
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."
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush Soda Saga or Trivia Crack.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
Funny, smart and my new favorite favorite. I will gladly be the Edge to Robinson’s Bono (or at least help her hook up with the Irish lads). She manages to mix pee-my-pants funny with real talk about racism in America, and it’s the conversation we definitely need to be having (when we’re not jamming to U2 or watching Michael Fassbender or giving Olivia Pope worthy lip quiver).
Not that this book is all about current race issues- Robinson is a a huge fan of cultural triva, and she likes a LOT of things that I also like, which probably made me like the book that much more. Despite the fact that she’s in her early 30’s and I’m almost 40, our taste in a music and tv are pretty similar (which probably makes her feel uncool, but totally makes me feel cool).
And she also touches on feminism, especially in the end when she writes letters to her little niece Olivia, and they are funny, full of wit and wisdom, and super inappropriate given the fact that Olivia is still potty training, but I’m assuming she’ll listen to this book when she’s older. And really, as an aunt, it’s a special duty to talk real talk with your nieces and nephews that they just don’t want to hear from their parents.
As much as I want to read more diverse books by diverse authors in 2017, that’s not really the reason I picked up You Can’t Touch My Hair. 2017 is a new year, and while I’m glad to bid adieu to 2016, I don’t suffer from the delusion that things are magically better when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s. So I wanted to start the year with an audiobook that would make me laugh and give me some hope that all the things aren’t falling apart. And I can say that Phoebe Robinson gave me laughter and hope.
Now, excuse me while I go binge read her blog, Blaria (aka Black Daria). Feel free to join me there, or just read her book (totally recommend the audiobook though).
Phoebe Robinson narrates her book, which honestly would be weird and 50% less funny if someone else had read it. She is so natural that you really feel like she’s talking to you- I even answered her a few times, like she might be able to hear me to (which, you know, she might, I don’t know if she bugged my car or not). Also, Robinson drops some hard truths, but she does so in a charming manner that is probably enhanced by her vocal adorableness. At least, it worked with me.