cover image Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be

Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be

Nichole Perkins. Grand Central, $17.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-538-70274-1

Perkins (Lilith, but Dark), a poet and former cohost of the Thirst Aid Kit podcast, examines religion, Black womanhood, desire, and sexuality in this powerful work of cultural criticism. She cleverly illustrates how pop culture has the power to shape, break, and illuminate the stories people tell about themselves and their intersecting identities. In one essay, “Kermit the Frog,” she reflects on her childhood love of Miss Piggy, only to understand as an adult that the “felt porcine femme” was abusive toward Kermit and, in that way, created a warped mirror of the domestic violence she witnessed between her parents growing up. In “I Love Niles Crane,” Perkins aspires to experience a divine love, in which a man “think[s] my presence is a blessing from on high.” Meanwhile, she connects her earliest feelings of desire to Prince’s “Girl” (“the nastiest, sexiest song I’d ever heard in my life”) and reminisces on how she learned “what was possible in Black college life” from the Cosby Show spin-off, A Different World. Writing from a place of humility and humor, Perkins paints an exuberant portrait of a Black woman speaking to and from her power. Tender and bright, this intimate work piques nonstop. Agent: Kiele Raymond, Thompson Literary (Aug.)