What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays

Damon Young. Ecco, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-268430-1
These darkly hilarious and forthcoming essays from Young, cofounder of social commentary blog Very Smart Brothas, center around the “perpetual surreality” of the African-American experience. For example, he writes with honesty and humor about his youthful worry that, if no white person called him the N word, his authenticity as a black man was in question. One of the funniest essays contains excerpts of his college-era poetry, often plagiarized from rap lyrics. In another, he recalls sneakily renting pornography as a teenager, feeling he was being watched by “my recently deceased aunt Toni, the first Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Maya Angelou, and the ghost of that guy Morgan Freeman played in Glory.” He critiques toxic masculinity and admits to a major error in judgment: writing a “triflin’-ass” piece dismissing a rape victim’s critique of rape culture. He wants, he realized, not to be just a “decent” man, but a man “worthy” of friendship with the women in his life. Young uses pop culture references and personal stories to look at a life molded by structural racism, the joy of having a family that holds together in a crisis, and the thrill of succeeding against difficult odds. Young’s charm and wit make these essays a pleasure to read; his candid approach makes them memorable. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/17/2019
Release date: 03/26/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-268433-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-289822-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-982610-66-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-982610-65-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-982610-67-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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