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Publisher's Summary

You may know W. Kamau Bell from his new Emmy-nominated hit show on CNN, United Shades of America. Or maybe you've read about him in The New York Times, which called him "the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years." Or maybe from The New Yorker fawning over his brand of humor writing: "Bell's gimmick is intersectional progressivism: he treats racial, gay, and women's issues as inseparable."

After all this love and praise, it's time for the next step: a book. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell is a humorous, well-informed take on the world today, tackling a wide range of issues, such as race relations; fatherhood; the state of law enforcement today; comedians and superheroes; right-wing politics; left-wing politics; failure; his interracial marriage; white men; his upbringing by very strong-willed, race-conscious, yet ideologically opposite parents; his early days struggling to find his comedic voice, then his later days struggling to find his comedic voice; why he never seemed to fit in with the black comedy scene...or the white comedy scene; how he was a black nerd way before that became a thing; how it took his wife and an East Bay lesbian to teach him that racism and sexism often walk hand in hand; and much, much more.

©2017 W. Kamau Bell (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Although the text version is an interesting, if curiously structured, work, the audiobook allows Bell a more apt platform for his offbeat intelligence and idiosyncratic voice. The experience of listening to the text, which clocks in at 10 hours and 31 minutes, is like being the sole patron in a comedy club while Bell performs a marathon stand-up routine.... [T]he audiobook allows a listener to hear the jokes as they were meant to be delivered." ( The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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White Woman Raising a Black Son

Any additional comments?

I have raised my bi-racial son by myself in the same small town I grew up in, which lacks ethnic diversity. As a 6'2" 17-year-old black nerd and future Mechanical Engineer, I have always been afraid to send him out into the collegiate world not knowing what obstacles await him outside of our peaceful hometown. Has he experienced racism? Sure. But mostly from ignorant schoolmates that have never known a black person. Kamau put many things into a perspective that made me assign this book to my son as his "black homework". I think they share a lot of the same obstacles- my son and Kamau are both Blerd's and are both extremely politically educated.

I enjoyed his personal story of growing up, his comedic journey, his relationship, etc- all while peppering in the political and racial issues of our time. It's as much a story of his life as it is a lesson on logical thoughts and ideas from a brilliant mind. This book gave me "the feels", and as a white woman I wasn't sure I would relate, but was doing my due diligence as the mother of a black man. I was wrong. This book is for everyone.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Another great think from Bell

I always love hearing the insights of W. Kamau Bell. Be it his podcast or his shows I always love the man's perspective humor and good natured view. In this we get a little back story and it works a bit like a legend or the origin story of some political satire superhero. A great read and worth the credit. I also would like to be the first to offer up my vote for him should he ever run for political office....
I want credit for being the first to reference that.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

I loved every minute of this book. Kamau's sweet, funny, yet strong and powerful voice makes his storytelling come alive. This book is about comedy, family, racism, friendship, Kamau's life journey and more. It is hilarious and compelling. I highly recommend it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Helped me get woke.

Love this book. A useful guide to reconning with white privilege and figuring out what to do about it. awesome.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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If you read only one hilarious book on rasism...

I loved it; funny, moving, a plea to understand racism, and to take the action needed to end it. W. Kamau Bell is a stand up comedian so he knows how to tell a story and there are many enertaining/cringe-worthy stories of growing up African American in this book.

He lets you laugh with him about it. And you will laugh.

I look forward to his next book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • kk
  • 05-18-17

Honest and refreshing

Loved listening to Kamau's experiences although some parts left me sad and angry. The chapters are laced with humour, calls out sexism and racism and make you reminisce of your summers spent with grandparents! Read/listen to the book and thou shall not be disappointed!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wanted to like it but...couldn't

Didn't find Kamal funny or informative or entertaining. Really wanted to see a more interesting insight exposed, But every scenario, no matter the subject, felt like he was over explaining the intrinsic value of a comic book. Just did not relate.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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boring and uninteresting

worst of all made me not care about a comedian that I enjoy seeing in stand up .. the racist drum he beats in this book are old and tired not meaning they are not important but reciting the same narratives without conversation on how to correct things ... just makes it seem like he needed a platform to complain ..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Surprisingly, made me think!

As a white woman married to a black man, and knowing Kamau is also married to a white woman I wanted to see what parts of his life he would present and talk about. I loved the start of the book... I loved everything about it... his background.. his family growing up, everything. But there was a time, kind of in the middle, where I realized that oh my gosh, Kamau is a black militant! I put the book down for awhile honestly. It was just a little too much. I love him on United shades of America. Love his comedy. But that was just a little too much. I decided to keep it going though, cuz I really do love this guy. And to my surprise I started embracing what he was talking about and realized that he hit it right on the nose. It made me understand more of the struggles that my husband probably goes through everyday. Our two kids don't look like they have a black father. But they do. And I'm sure that does color, no pun intended, their day at various times. Nonetheless I love the book. And I think you will too no matter what your political views are. Well if you're a right right-wing Republican, you might be a bit pissed off. But there's a lot of books for you. Go read those.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Boring, Uneventful, and Unfunny

It was a truly boring, uneventful, and unfunny story. It was a chore to get through, and I wish I could get a refund. This is the first book I listened to where I was not compelled to talk to anyone anyone about it. I gave the book the benefit of the doubt (I listened to the whole book), but all I did was waste more of my time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful