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Publisher's Summary

From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins' highly anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today - perfect for fans of Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists.

Morgan Jerkins is only in her 20s, but she has already established herself as an insightful, brutally honest writer who isn't afraid of tackling tough, controversial subjects. In This Will Be My Undoing, she takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to "be" - to live as, to exist as - a black woman today? This is a book about black women, but it's necessary listening for all Americans.

Doubly disenfranchised by race and gender, often deprived of a place within the mostly white mainstream feminist movement, black women are objectified, silenced, and marginalized, with devastating consequences, in ways both obvious and subtle that are rarely acknowledged in our country's larger discussion about inequality. In This Will Be My Undoing, Jerkins becomes both narrator and subject to expose the social, cultural, and historical story of black female oppression that influences the black community as well as the white, male-dominated world at large.

Whether she's writing about Sailor Moon; Rachel Dolezal; the stigma of therapy; her complex relationship with her own physical body; the pain of dating when men say they don't "see color"; being a black visitor in Russia; the specter of "the fast-tailed girl" and the paradox of black female sexuality; or disabled black women in the context of the "Black Girl Magic" movement, Jerkins is compelling and revelatory.

©2018 Morgan Jerkins (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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searing honesty and rigor

A beautiful book and a must read. I was astonished by vulnerable the author was willing to be with the details of her inner life. In the same book, she gives one of the most well thought out treatments of the thorny issue of Black representation in the works of white artists that I've ever encountered. I also really enjoyed the author's performance of her own work, it isn't something every author can pull off, Ms. Jerkins does.

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Beautiful peek at the mind of an excellent writer

I enjoyed this so much. Heart breaking, laughing, perfect! I recommend for everyone who calls themselves a feminist, works for inclusion, and/or loves words

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LOVE!!!!! She could not be more different from me

But I have never felt so represented by a book!!
I am not young, black, smart enough to go to an Ivy, an "up and comer" or the daughter of divorced parents but I have never felt my feelings so voiced. The fact she actually reads her own work makes it even more powerful.
I remember the relentless pushing through high school with a Trident missile's targeting on getting out of my hometown! The anxiety of college where the heady knowledge, desire to study, learning, meeting inspirational leaders all could all be instantly drowned in a "does he like me/why doesn't he like me" panic attack. Parents and environment who instilled an incredibly toxic and out of synch view of sexuality.
Speaking of sex- some essays in this book are incredibly raw and honest. If you can not deal with a woman having a powerful sex drive or explicitly discussed medical issues this is NOT the book for you. However, listening to one chapter in this book is the first time I ever got a physical reaction where I wanted to cross my legs- like guys do when they see a baseball player catch a ball in the berries.
I loved it so much I also bought the paperback!

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  • JV
  • 02-07-18

Phenomenal

If you could sum up This Will Be My Undoing in three words, what would they be?

The thing that makes this book absolutely spectacular is that it doesn't center non-Black people. Morgan writes about what it is like to be a young Black woman in America, without diluting the content for those of us who aren't Black women, and it works brilliantly. This is a collection with a memoir-esque feels, interweaving a lot of personal experiences with community experiences. There is a lot of self-examination- she isn't afraid to discuss her flaws. She's also unapologetic about her strengths. This is not an easy read, but it is a necessary one.

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I've never identified so closely with a writer

What made the experience of listening to This Will Be My Undoing the most enjoyable?

Morgan Jenkins narrates this story with as much honesty as poise as she employs in her writing.

What did you like best about this story?

All of it. As a 27 year old black woman, I've never read a memoir that I could relate to this much. She admits things that I would never. Struggles with things as a woman that I do everyday (including a beloved stepfather with a degenerative frontal lobe--crazy!). Recognizes her power as a black woman in many of the ways that I do. I will definitely be buying a hard copy and recommending this to friends- both male and female because I think her story is milk and honey for black women and should be required reading before dating a black girl.

Which character – as performed by Morgan Jerkins – was your favorite?

Morgan.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

An empowering tale and prerequisite before dating a black girl.

Any additional comments?

Congratulations on all your accomplishments. Thank you for shedding so many layers and even teaching me some things. Carry on.