Professional librarian type, amateur historian.
Location-wise this takes place in Washington, DC in the neighborhoody part of the city. There are some cultural things you can pick up on even if you live no where near the Beltway, but knowing the area and being around the general time the author grew up here, adds some extra to it. Also it is funny. It will go along as an interesting story and then bam, something is making me laugh. It only rated 3 stars overall because there is a lot of time between laughing. In general it is humorous, but it could be funnier.
The book is well-organized into socially relevant sections. Each is dealt with by including fact, personal experience and a diverting array of "Black Experts." The audience is dealt with much in the way a stand up comic addresses the audience: even when you, the listener, are not the subject of discussion, the discussion entertains you.
I've been somewhat familiar with Mr. Thurston from other digital venues, so was glad to learn more details about his past and perspective.
He's an excellent reader. In general, when an author is a good reader, I want him to perform his book. That way I know the emphasis is properly placed. In the section where he reads a seriously-angry-black-teen speech he wrote (as a teen), he reads it with his adult tongue firmly in cheek.
In the end, it's lighthearted; no a book you'd go to for detailed social or political history. (He works for The Onion, for crying out loud!) Still, if everyone in the US could adopt the spirit of the book when addressing our divisive, complicated racial history, we'd be better able to share our disappointments and applaud our progress together.
It's an easy listen, a fun listen. Though I don't personally re-listen to books, if I walked into a room where it was playing, I'd definitely listen--and smile--again.
Say something about yourself!
As a white Canadian, I didn't really think I would learn how to be black in America! I downloaded this book primarily for a laugh or two, but ended up learning and thinking about my own perceptions of what it's like to be black in America. The content is entertaining and thought provoking and Baratunde's audio performance is fabulous.
Awesome book. Whatever you probably think this book is, it is probably not.
Baratunde is hilarious! I probably enjoyed the audio more than I would have enjoyed reading the words. The audiobook also contains recorded interviews.
I listened in just several sessions. It is a very easy listen.
Funny, serious, mind-opening.
This is the first I've been exposed to him, but I will be looking for more.
It certainly made me laugh. I don't think I actually cried, but it was very sobering without being heavy-handed.
Serious subject matter done in a mostly funny way. How to be yourself no matter what your color or background, race relations past, present and future. As a white person, I'll admit some of it was hard to hear but I'm glad I did. I also LOVE his panel and their contributions to the book. Brilliant idea. I plan to check them out individually also.
This was an entertaining and educational read. Baratunde took me on a cultural tour of black America and gave me a better sense of the challenges and joys he experiences. Thank you for being the "black friend"! I hope this book gets the reading and listening it deserves. I would have given the performance five stars except the quality of the guest recordings was low.
Hilarious, intelligent, multifaceted. This book brings blackness to mind and then asks why we assume it is but one crystallized force in our life. I laughed, I cried, I pondered a reality where I wasn't the black employee and found myself head nodding to all of the things one must do to be the black friend. Truly remarkable
This was smart, funny, and at times tragically accurate about the black experience in America. It is also my favorite narration job ever for an audiobook. It will make you laugh and it will make you think.
I don't think there's anything I didn't love about this book. It was simultaneously funny and touching, providing me with the perfect dose of camaraderie and satire in a time when the US' racial strife is enough to leave me feeling defeated. Thurston helped lift my spirits with his apt observations and wit.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the author not only narrated the book, but included recordings of the interviews with the other writers, artists, and comedians he spoke to in order to help write it. The recording of his reading of the essay 13-year-old Baratunde wrote was especially entertaining.
This is one book I will absolutely be purchasing in physical form, giving as gifts when an occasion for presents arises, and insisting others listen to as well.