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Thick: And Other Essays

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  4,768 ratings  ·  717 reviews
Smart, humorous, and strikingly original thoughts on race, beauty, money, and more—by one of today's most intrepid public intellectuals

Tressie McMillan Cottom, the writer, professor, and acclaimed author of Lower Ed, now brilliantly shifts gears from running regression analyses on college data to unleashing another identity: a purveyor of wit, wisdom—and of course Black
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by The New Press (first published January 8th 2019)
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Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tressie McMillan Cottom’s essay collection Thick: And Other Essays, is thick in every sense of the word. This book is thick with wit and depth and intelligence as McMillan Cottom tackles black womanhood, contextualizing whiteness, beauty in a capitalist society, class mobility and much more. She engages, in fascinating ways, with the forces that bear down upon her from her subject position in prose that effortlessly blends the personal with the theoretical. She articulates a black woman’s work ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without a doubt the best book I have read in 2019 thus far, Thick: And Other Essays is thick with wit, intelligence, and an assured self-awareness. Tressie McMillan Cottom addresses many topics within the realm of black womanhood, including beauty standards and whiteness, ethnic differences within the black community, socioeconomic class and assimilating into capitalism, and more. I loved how she always took her analysis one step further, like in her essay about beauty, how she refutes the ...more
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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This is a really excellent collection of essays written by a black woman on issues that matter for both women and people of color. Better yet, she gives the why behind why she feels that these issues matter, and better still; I liked her whys. Intersectionality is so important, and it was only a few years ago that I realized how many feminist books and books about women's issues omit the issues that plague women of color. Even within
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenna by: Kathleen
Gritty, smart, original, Thick is a powerful collection of essays on race and womanhood, especially Black womanhood and the many injustices heaped upon Black women. Tressie McMillan Cottomshares intimate details of her own life and covers a broad spectrum about her thoughts on racism and white superiority and what is wrong with America today. It is a collection I both enjoyed and found enlightening. The voices of Black women are the least heard in America and, as Ms. Cottom illlustrates, there ...more
I liked Thick very much and in fact there were essays here that spoke to me, for me, within me. The writing was quite affecting. Cottom is brash and intense and funny and full of facts. That's what was great about the book. Her commentary was searing and endlessly supported by facts. In this book Cottom talks of what it feels like to be an educated black woman in this America and I gotta tell ya, she knocked it out of the park on most of these essays. Breakdown here:(view spoiler) ...more
Valerity (Val)
DNF at 26% I tried repeatedly to get into this book, but its just not my usual kind of book, although a good one, not for me. I have a sleep disorder that knocks me right out if I don't find something gripping, and even on some that I do, so I have to save my reading time for books that I find compelling. Thanks for understanding!
chantel nouseforaname
Yooooooo Tressie! Tressie! Tressie! SIS!!! SISSSSS!

This whole book rocked my entire world and like just got all up in my feelings and my mind and honestly, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. There's so much important stuff here.
I'm going to buy a copy for my sister-in-law; because I think she should read it. My highlights are all up on this post. So many highlighted segments of just straight, pure truths.

Highlights include: Know Your Whites: no matter how much I love The Obamas, and I LOVE
Stacie C
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Thick. If that isn’t an apt title for this collection than I don’t know what is, because this is a thick book. Not thick in the amount of pages, but absolutely full of relevant and necessary information. It isn’t curing cancer or solving climate change. But it is giving a voice and analytical eye to the way we treat, judge, measure, love, hate and depict Black women.

I knew after the very first essay in this collection that I was willing to analyze and absorb everything that Cottom had to
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
Now a Finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction 2019
This was dense and super interesting: Tressie McMillan Cottom, a professor of sociology and public intellectual, writes about the black female experience in postmodern America, and she offers a sharp analysis of various complex phenomena that affect her and many other black women. In eight essays, she tackles topics such as the capitalist logic of beauty, the election of Trump, the vulnerability of black girls and women, the concept
My primary interest in requesting and reading this book was that I felt it might improve my understanding of the black female experience in the U.S., as I am always on the look for the type of works that combine personal narrative and scholarly insight, where the writer will always try to “to refine my analytical concepts without sacrificing my prose.” Not because the data and research added would reinforce and legitimize the personal story, but because it brings into the light a new, different ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poc-author
Yeah, this was just as fantastic as everyone says it is.
Jessica Woodbury
I have only one critique of THICK: I would like more of it.

I wanted to read this book as soon as it was announced and could have read an advance copy but once I found out there was an audiobook I waited. I love authors reading their own work and after following Cottom on Twitter for a few years I knew she would deliver. She has.

I do not read many essay collections even though they are having a burst of popularity. Usually when I do they are comedic or a little on the lighter side. It is not that
Traci at The Stacks
Holy smart person. Tressie McMillan Cottom is an incredible writer and more importantly thinker. She is connecting dots I’ve not ever seen connected. She is amazing at writing “the turn” in these essays. Also she is narrow in focus in each essay which allows for depth and real interrogation. Also she’s funny, smart funny. That’s important too. I also struggled with reading these essays, the language was so deliberate I had to reread because I would get confused. Not a dig at the author, more an ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, essays
Listening to these riveting essays narrated by the author was an enjoyable treat even though she had me thinking hard. Cottom opened the door and invited me to do some thought shifting about the injustices in our world - especially the injustices against black women. I needed this book and am ready for her next one...
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, arc
Thick is a non-fiction book that straddles the line between academic writing and memoir - something I personally really happen to enjoy. Here McMillan Cottom writes on a variety of topics, often with anecdotal evidence centered into her more academic musings.

This book both suffers and improves for me because McMillan Cottom comes from a similar academic tradition as I do. On the one hand it means that I am bound to agree with a lot of her analyses, on the other hand some of her arguments do lose
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cottom’s essays provide a thoughtful perspective on the pervasive racism and misogyny that black women must deal with. For instance, how does a black woman ‘prove’ that she has bruises left by an abuser, when her skin is so dark that it doesn’t show bruises. And yet, our criminal justice system relies on such photographic evidence!

Where are the voices of black women on the opinion pages of major newspapers? Why don’t black women journalists have more followers on social media? Cottom writes
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
“No one can speak to a singular black experience, not even me. Especially not me. Rejecting that belief does not free me, but it goes a long way toward being authentic.”

This essay collection was electric, engaging, and incredibly compelling! The balance of anecdotes and personal perspectives coupled with broader social theory and commentary was a perfect combination and made for a highly readable and thought-provoking read.

The essays cover a range of topics that impact the construction and
Never Without a Book
This is one you will want to read. Highly recommended you do.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best essay collections I've read in a LONG time. I absolutely loved it. I loved, especially, her essay on beauty standards as a function of the market. Each essay was just so carefully written, dense, complex, and well-thought out, but also very personal and vulnerable.
New release! Out today!

Thank you to New Press for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is such a great essay collection to start off the new year. I'm a longtime fan of Tressie McMillan Cottom's work, particularly on higher education, and this collection does not disappoint. There is a very timely essay in here about R. Kelly, uncannily timed for the release of the three-day documentary about R. Kelly's survivors on Lifetime TV. Her remarks about the violence perpetrated on
|| Thoughts on race, beauty, money and more
|| From the perspective of being thick
|| Feminist collection

Absolutely loved this! I really don't want to say much because I don't identify in-depth with the culture or ethnicity of the women being talked about but as a feminist, this was definitely an inspiring and a pleasure to read this collection of essays. Majority of the thoughts and pieces challenge the usual societal norms and made me think which not many books, especially memoirs, do. It's
This was a 4.5 read for me.
Thoughts coming shortly
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading "Thick" made me uncomfortable. It made me squirmingly, hopelessly uncomfortable.
You see, I am a (white) woman who wants to understand. I want to understand how things work, how people work, how our universe works, and I like to think if I study, read and engage others in dialog, someday I might.
But Tressie McMillan Cotton wrote a book that patiently, intelligently explains that it doesn't work that way. No one can ever understand what it means to be what they themselves are not.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, so good. The rumor that she and Roxane Gay are developing a podcast helps me fall asleep with a smile on my face every night.

I know I'll be thinking about the essays for a long time, and one of the most resonant threads throughout is the commodification of *everything*. I hope to revisit this book again in several months, as there were many layers and I don't know if I've properly wrapped my head around all of it.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection of essays is quite simply unadulterated brilliance, but I have come to expect no less from Tressie McMillan Cottom! While reading these, I managed to both laugh and cry as this Black woman academic delved into experiences that bore similarities to my own as a woman of colour in Canada. I look forward to engaging with more of this author's writing in the future.
Dr. Cottom writes in an intellectual, but accessible manner. Some (very wrong) folks thought this would hinder her, but I wholeheartedly disagree. It’s what makes this provocative collection so effective.
Shirleen R
Read this book. Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom's essay collection surpassed my expectations. If you've followed her Twitter feed, or even her earlier blogs on Tumblr, back in her Emory graduate student days, I guarantee Thick: And Other Essays is worth the read still. She did not rehash her commentary; rather, she expanded on her bold ideas and enriched her comments with a solid bibliography.

TCM is among the first Black public intellectuals whose opinions I discovered within the digital
Morgan ***Books and Bougie***
I've always believed that knowledge is power and Blackness is something that can never be over-learned. You cannot possibly know everything about the topic of being Black and that is what this series of essays taught me.

Having so much of the book based out of my state (North Carolina) and city (Charlotte) and a city I lived very close to (Raleigh) made me feel incredibly ignorant to what was going on around me. I had been living in covert racism my entire life. It's so well-hidden that when
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
THICK is going to be one of the first best essay collections of 2019. Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom is an academic, sociology and prominent writer. I learned a lot from these essays, ranging from her experience as a Black woman academic, personal essays, opinion writing & gatekeepers, views on "beauty", R. Kelly and the need for more black women writers at prestigious publications.

These essays are wide-ranging and often made me wish I was reading them in a class or book club discussion -
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written and informative book of essays that is on the National Book Award shortlist for nonfiction. I most liked the author's consistent voice and style and found her arguments sound even if I wasn't in total agreement one hunder per cent of the time. The author is an academician who describes herself as a "black woman thinker," that writes on "race, racism, gender, sexism, class, classism, education, economics, and culture," and this pretty much sums up the focus of the essays in this ...more
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Tressie McMillan Cottom has been called "a master of metaphor" (Soraya McDonald), one of "America's most bracing thinkers on race, gender, and capitalism of our time" (Rebecca Traister) and "one of the finest public intellectuals writing today" (Roxane Gay). McMillan Cottom centers black women in uncommonly incisive analysis of social problems. She lives in Richmond, Virginia where she is an ...more
“Beauty is not good capital. I compounds the oppression of gender. It constrains those who identify as women against their will. It costs money and demands money. It colonizes. It hurts. It is painful. It can never be fully satisfied. It is not useful for human flourishing. Beauty is, like all capital, merely valuable.” 4 likes
“Decades before I valued myself enough to be careful for myself, I was careful so that my mother would not worry.” 3 likes
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