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Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America; Essays

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  56 reviews
From the creator of Elle 's "Eric Reads the News," a poignant and hilarious memoir-in-essays about growing up seeing the world differently, finding his joy, and every awkward, extraordinary stumble along the way.

R. Eric Thomas didn't know he was different until the world told him so. Everywhere he went—whether it was his rich, mostly white, suburban high school, his
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by Ballantine Books
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Average rating 4.39  · 
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 ·  157 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Taylor Noel
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Joyful, deeply felt, and intensely funny, this is a book for everyone who has ever struggled with marginalization, self-acceptance, or just the nagging sense of being at odds with the world. Eric's writing is alternatingly laugh-out-loud funny and deeply introspective. Loved every word and highly recommend.
Basic B's Guide
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I may be on a bit of a memoir binge and I’m not mad about it. I have to admit that the cover of this book is what initially drew me in. Cover snob alert! Who doesn’t love a pink cover with confetti?! I’m happy to say that I was quite pleased what lay beneath the pretty cover. I went in completely blind to what it was about but ready to dive into something that was being called funny and thoughtful. Indeed, I laughed and cried reading about R. Eric Thomas’s life growing up. I love his approach to ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfic
I'm totally here for *Here for It (Or, How to Save Your Soul in America)*! Hitting streets this week (2.18.2020), this collection of essays is honest & funny & unflinchingly hopeful at a time of almost continual bleakness in our country.

R. Eric Thomas gives us an antidote to that boiling desire to just give the hell up already. And he *does* make me not want to give up. Partly because there is plenty of struggle in these pages. Partly because his references to pop culture throughout the
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not to heap so much on a single book, but this memoir/collection of essays helped me through a rough time, saved my life, and cleared my skin. This was hilarious and hopeful from the very first page and it was everything I needed to read in this already exhausting election year.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Absolutely inspiring and utterly heartwarming. I’m in awe of the talents of this author. 5/5 stars for one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt, poc-authored
A thoughtful, though at times disjointed, collection of essays following the trajectory of his own life, "Here For It" is R. Eric Thomas' take on life in the United States as a black, gay, Christian man.

This memoir tells the life story of its author through snippets of thoughtful engagement with history, politics, and pop culture. From stories about growing up black in Baltimore, gay in New York, and black and gay in Philly, each essay is a little bite of a broader conversation about the ways in
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Here For It by R. Eric Thomas was exactly what I needed right now. I have always loved humor writing but had wandered away from it for some time. Thomas reminded me why I love it so much with his approach to making the terrible twist into something comical. He has a way of turning everything from politics to his love-life and everything in between from horrible to hilarious all while keeping the heart in each story. I found myself cringing at his all-to-relatable awkward adventures while also ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

R. Eric Thomas has an exuberant voice that is bombastic and enthusiastic. So much personality, but without much direction to this book, it began to wear. I suggest reading this a few essays at a time rather than trying to power through--you'll enjoy it much more.
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I only knew the author from his funny Elle essays (which I love) so I was taken aback by how emotional and poignant some of the pieces in this book turned out to be. I really enjoyed this.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC for an honest review.

From the creator of Elle 's "Eric Reads the News," a poignant and hilarious memoir-in-essays about growing up seeing the world differently, finding his joy, and every awkward, extraordinary stumble along the way.

R. Eric Thomas didn't know he was different until the world told him so. Everywhere he went—whether it was his rich, mostly white, suburban high school, his conservative black church, or his Ivy League college in a big city—he found
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books2020
"But the thing about success is that it doesn't seem like a natural result of unsuccessfulness. It feels like success comes despite a lack of success." (9)

"If this was a parable, I guess the lesson would be that life isn't fair but if you complain sometimes you get free things. Useful." (15)

"Is the point that some part of the past will always sound horrific as a price for living in a presumably better future?" (26)

"You're so rich you've started to inconvenience yourself. Look at your life." (31)
I absolutely loved this warm, funny, not-too-serious but still smart and thoughtful collection of essays. I actually found it somewhat unique as far as essay collections go--it's not at all straight-up humor, and it's definitely not straight-up analysis/cultural critique. It's not academic at all, and though it's mostly personal, its scope is broader than just here's-what-happened-to-me essays. Essentially, it falls somewhere in the middle of all of that, and is just so well done. Thomas is ...more
Kayla Mckinney
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
In "Here for it," R. Eric Thomas chronicles his journey into writing for the internet and finding an authentic voice. Alongside this, he also takes the reader on a tour of how success works, what to do when the American dream seems to fail (make jokes, the dangers of the suburbs, crushes, legacy, family, restaurant work, Krampus, Easter egg hunting, and the dream of what American can be -- and he makes you laugh through just about every minute of it.

I often respect authors and love to learn
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I won this copy in a Goodreads giveaway.

I read R. Eric Thomas' newsletter every week. It has been a bright spot in my Monday mornings for well over a year. I don't think I've ever read a column that didn't at least make me chuckle, and sometimes there is a bittersweet edge to his observations that never overwhelm the humor, because it is a comic newsletter after all.

But the bittersweet takes a lot of moments in this book, and I loved it. The only criticism I have of this book is that I
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Disclosure: I received a free early unproofed copy in a Goodreads giveaway.

There is an old joke in computer programming that the hardest part of any project is naming things. Likewise, the challenge of titling a book seems well beyond my abilities. I was continuously surprised at the text of Here for It, not because I didn't know the writer's style—R. Eric Thomas is a witty writer who fills his writing with hilarious asides and pop culture references— or because it wasn't good—the essays within
Shannon Meacham
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I've spent the last few days listening to R. Eric Thomas's book #HereforIt. And it is not only completely delightful, hilarious, and well written, all of which I'm here for, but I have now decided that Eric will accompany me everywhere.

Like Jiminy Cricket he is now the voice of my conscience. I have full conversations with a tiny Eric angel and a tiny Eric devil now in my head, which used to be crowded with others, but now there is only one!

All the other, especially evil voices- BE GONE! My
Jenny GB
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway
I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you!

First, I didn't know who R. Eric Thomas was before winning this book. It looked like fun so I requested to win it and I have not been disappointed. In addition to reading this book, I also went and read some of Thomas' columns and generally just had a good time. It's been a while since I laughed this much reading a book. At the same time, Thomas is going to make you think about now with hope while still acknowledging
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, netgalley
NOTE: I received a free advanced reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

First, if you do not follow R. Eric Thomas on Facebook (or your social media of choice) and read his column, stop what you're doing and start following immediately. His columns are consistently laugh-out-loud funny. Which is why I requested an ARC of his forthcoming book.

Now, as for the book itself, I really enjoyed getting to know more about Eric. But be forewarned - while entertaining, this
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a fan of Eric's articles on I started following him on Twitter not long after he began writing on a national platform. I (delusionally) claim to have spoken this book into existence b/c I would ask him to write one all the time and he finally told me when it was a real project. :P

I listened to this book and really enjoyed each and every essay. He reads the book and I think it really adds extra flare. He doesn't disappoint with his writing by keeping on task with the sass and
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Warm, thought-provoking, funny, resounding, and (it bears repeating) hopeful, Here For It is one of my favorite recent reads.

R. Eric Thomas’ writing models how we can simultaneously despair at and love the world we live in; how we can use our experiences and voices to bring light to the darkness; how we can reconcile riot and celebration in our society and in ourselves...and how we can keep going. I really appreciated this book in this moment.

Also, though this is a personal essay collection and
Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)
I received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

I was really let down in the book. I was super excited to read and get to learn more about Thomas.
He is a great writer. He is funny and his life is very interesting; however, this book lacked quite a bit of direction which was really frustrating at times. (all of the time). I felt like I was left hanging with too many of the essays.
I reallllly wanted to give this book 4-5 stars but I couldn't do that honestly.
I do
Kim Bongiorno
The author is a columnist for Elle, and I try not to miss anything he writes over there. This book takes what I love about his work, and unfolds it so the reader can see the big picture of how he got here, and what he brings with him as he starts hitting the keys.

Laugh-out-loud funny (honestly, my 14yo and I were BREATHLESSLY CRACKING UP listening to the babysitting chapter in my car), moving, sweet, and thoughtful, all at once. His is a story about never quite feeling like he fits in--which
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a true treat to read! Funny, sentimental, hopeful. I felt a wide range of feelings, that as a New Englander, I usually repress. I love R. Eric Thomas' column and emails and I'm just so happy for his success and this great, funny book. Finished and immediately started playing the Star Spangled Banner by Whitney Houston (there is no other version!) and put on a caftan to celebrate (she loves a costume change!). I'm also delighted that I have a go-to gift to give friends and family in the ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
HERE FOR IT is full of empathy, and as Thomas explains live, miracles and terror.

“For years, I thought that the way to keep from getting burned was to set myself on fire first or to snuff out my light. I didn’t know that I was a phoenix, growing more powerful with every unsuccessful attempt at the drag of presentability, every hurled insult, every strike, every split. The flame is not my liability but my strength.”
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was just lovely. R. Eric Thomas is the best thing to happen to the internet. His facebook posts and work for Elle always make me laugh out loud (and I'm normally the kind of person who says 'that's funny' instead of laughing). I started this book expecting a group of lighthearted, humorous essays. Instead it is a vulnerable, heartfelt memoir about his struggles with his identity.... that is also laugh-out-loud funny. 5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced readers copy.
Lily Herman
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an absolutely lovely and hilarious essay collection. I've been a long-time reader of R. Eric Thomas' "Eric Reads the News" column for, and I couldn't get enough of Thomas' humor in this book.

There were a few times where the essays ended more abruptly than I would've liked and I wish he'd dug into the underlying internal issues a little bit more, but the entire book came full circle, and the ending is really funny. This was a quick read and a joy from start to finish.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review copy courtesy of Edelweiss.

Much like his enjoyable columns and hilarious Twitter account, this collection of essays will have you chuckling and laughing along with Thomas. My one complaint was I thought the essays would be more sequential so at times I felt like I needed a guide to know what part of his life he was writing about. Otherwise he is a wonderful, funny voice that can challenge David Sedaris for engaging essays.
Dara (Dara Reads OK)
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I adored this book. I actually had to cover my mouth laughing out loud reading it in public. R. Eric Thomas is one of my favorite writers on the internet. His email roundup of his column etc. is one of my weekly highlights. Writing at the intersection of being a black, gay man married to a minister, this group of essays covers everything from the silly to the sacred and brought a tear or two to my eyes.
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A memoir told in essays, Here For It is a hilarious and heartfelt reflection on Thomas's life as a black, gay, and Christian man living in America. It's the most human commentary on pop culture and politics that I've read. Here For It reads like a mix between Bad Feminist and Hannah Gadsby's Netflix comedy special, but it has a voice that's entirely its own. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cry from laughing. Everyone needs to read this treasure of a book!
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
In this collection, Eric describes growing up and growing into adulthood as a black kid in a predominately white private school and a gay kid in a church community that fired its gay music minister for fear of the congregants catching AIDS; a young adult for whom his family had high expectations and a young adult who had to drop out of college; an adult stumbled through a variety of jobs in retail, food service, etc., before realizing he could get paid for what he loved doing. As most of us do, ...more
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“Every moment from then on, I was an Other. The thing is, I felt it, but I didn’t realize it. Other felt like a funhouse narrative; it felt like doing something wrong. Or worse, being something wrong. So I ignored it for as long as I could, creating certainty where I could. And when that didn’t work, I anxiously awaited a spoiler to burst through time and let me know if this whole thing was going to end badly.” 0 likes
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