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The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  2,649 Ratings  ·  462 Reviews
In the bestselling tradition of Sloan Crosley’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, a collection of humorous essays on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits, and black as cool.

My name is “J” and I’m awkward—and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by Atria / 37 INK (first published January 6th 2015)
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Tyra I would recommend Young Adult (late teens) or older. There are some adult themes mentioned but nothing is gone over in explicit detail. It's sort of a…moreI would recommend Young Adult (late teens) or older. There are some adult themes mentioned but nothing is gone over in explicit detail. It's sort of a coming-of-age book, so it transitions from Issa Rae's childhood to adulthood.(less)

Community Reviews

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Dec 03, 2016 Natalie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, essays, memoir
This hilarious, honest, and bold collection of essays introduced me to Issa Rae, and my gratitude is galaxy-sized. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a collection of essays on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits, and black as cool.

Let's jump right into discussing my favorite essay, which was one of the first ones (“A/S/L”) where she talked about her early internet days. I mean, it's been almost weeks since I read it, but I still
Feb 17, 2015 Lina rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a lot of memoirs, but the ones that I have either didn't connect with me or just made the person come off as obnoxious or frustrating. So I was nervous about reading Issa Rae's memoir because her webseries connected so much with me and I was afraid that by reading the book it would just make me dislike her. There is a reason they say never meet your heroes. Still, I could not resist as soon as I saw the cover. The Wonder Woman pose gets me every time.

Issa Rae takes us back and f
Issa Rae's Misadventures missed the mark for me. Though I loved her discussions of hair and going natural, the rest of the book fell flat. Maybe I'm not awkward enough?

Rae's web series is brilliant and her voice in both television and film is powerful and necessary. However, the narrative style and tone were flat. I didn't get emotionally invested. I wanted to laugh out loud, and expected to since this memoir is compared to Kaling's memoir.

Are people loving this? Maybe I shouldn't have listened
Issa Rae knows what it is to be that awkward and black and she's extremely clear on letting people know that's a-okay. This book spoke to me in ways that I haven't felt since reading The Blacker The Berry by Wallace Thurman. Full review to come.

David Dacosta
Aug 05, 2016 David Dacosta rated it liked it

I fluked into the Awkward Black Girl YouTube series about five months after it began. For the most part I found Issa Rae and the cast to be comical and entertaining. It was refreshing to see a black production free of stereotypical themes. Where things took a nose dive for me was in the final webisode. Issa was left with the tricky task of choosing between two potential suitors, a black male and a white male. She eventually settled for the white suitor.

Now, there’s no crime in a black female ch
Sep 29, 2014 stacia rated it liked it
(I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair, post-reading review.)

"Call it maturation or denial or self-hatred— I give no f%^&s. And it feels great. I’ve decided to focus only on the positivity of being black, and especially of being a black woman. Am I supposed to feel oppressed? Because I don’t. Is racism supposed to hurt me? That’s so 1950s."

This passage comes up about 80% through Issa Rae's debut memoir and it sums up her approach to race analysis and race-related h
This was a fun book. There were so many experiences and thoughts that she had that I could totally relate to. It always feel great when you can empathize with the narrator and wish you could say to them, "Me too, girl!" I'm glad I decided to listen to this rather than read it. I find I always appreciate comedic memoirs such as this one much better when narrated by the author.
Feb 10, 2015 Kerri rated it liked it
I'd probably give this 3 1/2 stars. I was excited to check out this book, as I've become increasingly aware of Issa Rae's online star power and have enjoyed a few comedic memoirs by awesome women in the past (Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me being two obvious ones.) And while this collection was okay, there was some of the fire and the relatability missing from this one for me.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you already know at least one thing about Issa Rae—she’s the inte
Jun 20, 2015 Camille rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, audiobooks
This was good. Different from what I initially expected but good. There were some particularly insightful parts and humorous as well. I'm glad I listened to this.

To anyone intending to read this: don't go in expecting the same funniness fron the Internet episodes. This is a glimpse into the woman behind the web series.
Mar 31, 2015 ReGina rated it really liked it
I went in thinking this book would be drop dead funny. It wasn't. However, I found that wasn't a bad thing. It's still quite humorous in spots, but there is so much that rings true in this book, even if you aren't an awkward black girl of Senegalese heritage. I understood the struggle, even those that I had never named or realized. Very poignant, and I look for great things in the future from Issa Rae.
Reading in Black & White
"Being an introvert in a world that glorifies cool isn't easy."

I remember sitting in an airport a few months ago while waiting to board a flight to Houston and I decided to start this book and I am so happy that I did. In the past I watched a few episodes of Issa's show on YouTube so I was quite interested in learning more about her as a woman. I will say without a doubt that she is one of the few humans living on this planet that is completely honest with her self-esteem issues and it is all do
Apr 01, 2015 SunnyD rated it it was ok
disappointment. unfortunately, this book made me like her a lot less. it's not that i *dislike* her now, but this book was pretty boring/flat, sometimes annoying, and only occasionally/slightly funny. there just wasn't much of anything interesting in the story, and some of it screamed spoiled millenial hipster-but-i'm-not-really-hipster. i feel like she has better people than ones who would let this go to publish w/o saying, "no...this is not good enough." meh. i'm returning it to the bookstore.
Wiebke (1book1review)
Aug 05, 2015 Wiebke (1book1review) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Being unfamiliar with Issa Rae and her work I didn't really know what to expect, and you that is how I like to read books. And I was not disappointed. This was a very interesting book about her life and experiences, private and work/career related. Interspersed with some helpful and funny tips to deal with certain situations/people.

I receommend the audiobook as she does a wonderful job of telling her story.
Jan 04, 2015 Vanessa rated it really liked it
As a fan of the Awkward Black Girl web series, I already love Issa Rae. After reading more about her childhood and early forays into writing, I love her even more. Here's to hoping it inspires the awkward of all colors to create.

OH, and, she quotes one of my favorite Junot Diaz passages. 1MM+ bonus points.
Lisa Christian Valle
Witty, real and authentic...

Read like more than a story, almost a conversation on a door room floor with popcorn and wine --- pure girl time!
Toks (at GalacticTidesx)
Dec 08, 2014 Toks (at GalacticTidesx) rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2014
One of the amazing things about seeking out pop culture is that I've been able to find way more than I imagined. In particular in the last few years, I've gotten to read/watch quite a few things on black nerdery and awkward awesomeness than ever before. One of the first of those things was Awkward Black Girl the webseries which I love truly and deeply. Just of recent, on that list we have How To Be Black and Dear White People and Bad Feminist.

Of course, here at GalacticTides, I love fiction bec
Mar 01, 2015 Fryeday rated it liked it
More like 3.5 stars.

I listened to this audiobook, which the author does read, on my drive to and fro Nashville. It was definitely a solid choice for my roadtrip.

I enjoyed reading/listening to stories about the life of this young, black woman. What I was struck by most is that save some differences in family structure/culture, these could've been my stories. And for me, I believe this is a first. A book that was just about a black girl growing up in the 80/90s, going to college, having friends,
Aug 10, 2016 Isla rated it did not like it
she uses some funny terms like "nap-tural" or "black-cent" to describe her experience, but overall it made me view Issa Rae as a racist young woman posing as post-racial. she could've shortened this a lot and made it really tight, like they say about The White Album. the whole chapter about food was painstakingly irrelevant. she was obsessing over 11 lbs? please. also, Rae was very muddled on co-dependency/feminist ideas she put across. and when she called Filipinos the Blacks of Asian people i ...more
Mar 31, 2015 Melody rated it liked it
This made me laugh out loud more than a handful of times. Good stuff. Also, it was great getting to know more about Issa and relate so well to her on numerous levels from culture shock to hair and appearance to the naiveté of certain things while being awkward and black. Hoping this is just the beginning of books we get to read by Issa Rae!
Rachel Page
May 13, 2015 Rachel Page rated it it was ok
The author reads her own essays in the audio book. For someone with a successful web series, you'd think that the reading would be much better. I couldn't get past the flat tone and poor pacing. This would probably be better reading the written page instead of listening to the CD.
Pleasant essays from an interesting perspective. Minus one star for describing a person's eyes as "chinky." I kept hoping that the audiobook narrator had said janky or hinky, but I looked it up on Google Books, and there it is.
Mar 04, 2015 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
I am such a fan of Issa Rae and ABG! I was excited about this book because in my mind she is my friend in my head. I felt like she was telling my life story in the chapter "The Struggle".
3 for the content
+0.5 for the enjoyment of the book.
Sep 12, 2016 Ari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
IQ: "In the meantime, I felt surrounded by all the mainstream media's negative images of black women. This was all prior to the promising Shonda Rhimes takeover of Thursday nights, so as the negative portrayal of women in reality television broadened its boundaries, I grew angry, resentful, and impatient. How hard is it to portray a three-dimensional woman of color on television or in film? I'm surrounded by them. They're my friends. I talked to them every day." 45

I have yet to watch the web ser
Georgina Bawden
Sep 27, 2016 Georgina Bawden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the web series of the same name, and really enjoyed this funny, sweet memoir. Teenage Issa Rae is so adorably awkward I wanted to hug her and loan her some CDs... I find these comedian-penned memoirs (which are coming thick and fast recently) a bit hit and miss, but this was an engaging, light read that made me even more excited for Issa's new HBO show.
Sep 22, 2016 Chinook rated it it was ok
Shelves: africa, america, feminism
This fell a bit flat for me. I'm curious to go and watch her YouTube web series of the same name though. There were some cool chapters and I related a lot to the school awkwardness and the lack of fashion, dance and music coolness. But her attitude towards weight seemed rather unexamined and I found a few of her statements questionalable (like in the section on dating Asian men but not Filipinos.)
Kristy Miller
Sep 15, 2016 Kristy Miller rated it really liked it
I'd love to think that Issa Rae and Felicia Day are friends. If they're not, the should be, as they have a lot in common and I think their conversations would be endlessly entertaining.
A collection of essays, both biographical and social observations, by this up and coming entertainer. Issa got her start producing, writing, and staring in YouTube shows, and her new HBO show starts in October. I'm only a few years older than Issa, and was quite the awkward child myself. I identified with many of
Nov 03, 2015 Britt rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This is a book that I read in a day. What I enjoyed about the book is that it really felt like things I hear myself say and don't often get to share with others for the sake of being anymore of the "odd one" than I already. So for me was it groundbreaking? No, but the fact that I was able to completely identify with someone who is from a completly different heritage, different familial structure, and has all of my respect and admiration for her work, is a rewarding experience. I only wish that ...more
Aug 10, 2015 Darkowaa rated it really liked it
!! Book blog review:

I love Jo-Issa even more after reading this book! I wouldn't call this a memoir... its more of a collection of essays where Issa Rae talks about her life happenings. My favorite chapter is 'Halfrican' where Issa Rae talks about her (half) Senegalese culture and upbringing (in the US and frequently in Senegal). If you aren't familiar with Issa Rae, please google her and watch her YouTube series - 'Awkward Black Girl'! She's an amazing i
Kayle Barnes
Feb 23, 2015 Kayle Barnes rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable read! While Issa made it clear during her conversation that she was not trying to represent every awkward black girl's story, parts of her experience definitely resonated with me. This memoir was intimate at times, informational at others, and always hilarious. It provided the background of how Issa, Jo-Issa became, acknowledged, and branded herself while figuring out the person she wanted to become. Glad Issa shared her story and that she found her tribe of awkward black girls.
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2016 Reading Chal...: 29 years 11 months 25 days 1 28 May 24, 2015 09:13AM  
Mocha Girls Read: Book of the Month: The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl 22 100 Apr 01, 2015 03:11PM  
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With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae’s content has garnered over 20 million views and close to 160,000 subscribers on YouTube. In addition to making the Forbes 30 Under 30 list twice and winning the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show for her hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” Issa Rae has worked on web content for Pharrell Williams, Tracey Edmonds ...more
More about Issa Rae...

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“Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t want to die alone, but spending quality time with myself 60 to 70 percent of the day is my idea of mecca.” 16 likes
“Girls, New Girl, 2 Broke Girls. What do they all have in common? The universal gender classification, “girl,” is white. In all three of these successful series, a default girl (or two) is implied and she is white. That is the norm and that is what is acceptable. Anything else is niche.” 10 likes
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