This Will Be My Undoing
From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today—perfect for fans of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.Morgan Jerkins is only in her twenties, but she has already established herself as an insightful, brutally honest writer who isn’t afraid of tackling tough, controversial subjects. In This Will Be My Undoing, she takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to “be”—to live as, to exist as—a black woman today? This is a book about black women, but it’s necessary reading for all Americans.Doubly disenfranchised by race and gender, often deprived of a place within the mostly white mainstream feminist movement, black women are objectified, silenced, and marginalized with devastating consequences, in ways both obvious and subtle, that are rarely acknowledged in our country’s larger discussion about inequality. In This Will Be My Undoing, Jerkins becomes both narrator and subject to expose the social, cultural, and historical story of black female oppression that influences the black community as well as the white, male-dominated world at large.

This Will Be My Undoing Details

TitleThis Will Be My Undoing
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 13th, 2018
PublisherHarper Perennial
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Essays, Feminism, Autobiography, Memoir, Race

This Will Be My Undoing Review

  • Roxane
    January 1, 1970
    In Morgan Jerkins’s remarkable debut essay collection This Will Be Our Undoing, she is a deft cartographer of black girlhood and womanhood. From one essay to the next, Jerkins weaves the personal with the public and political in compelling, challenging ways. Her prodigious intellect and curiosity are on full display throughout this outstanding collection. The last line of the book reads, “You should’ve known I was coming,” and indeed, in this, too, Jerkins is prescient. With this collection, she In Morgan Jerkins’s remarkable debut essay collection This Will Be Our Undoing, she is a deft cartographer of black girlhood and womanhood. From one essay to the next, Jerkins weaves the personal with the public and political in compelling, challenging ways. Her prodigious intellect and curiosity are on full display throughout this outstanding collection. The last line of the book reads, “You should’ve known I was coming,” and indeed, in this, too, Jerkins is prescient. With this collection, she shows us that she is unforgettably here, a writer to be reckoned with.
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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    I read a lot of books by women of color, and specifically black women. But I think THIS WILL BE MY UNDOING may be the single book that has most clearly showed me the experience of being a young black woman in America today. I am a white woman and I think part of the reason Jerkins succeeds so wildly is that she is not centering her book around readers like me. Much of what we encounter in the world centers on a default white audience. The fact that this book isn't "for me" is exactly why it work I read a lot of books by women of color, and specifically black women. But I think THIS WILL BE MY UNDOING may be the single book that has most clearly showed me the experience of being a young black woman in America today. I am a white woman and I think part of the reason Jerkins succeeds so wildly is that she is not centering her book around readers like me. Much of what we encounter in the world centers on a default white audience. The fact that this book isn't "for me" is exactly why it works. This is not an effort to translate the experience of black women for other audiences, this book simply seeks to portray the experience of black women as purely as possible, with black women at its center.While this is a book of essays, it also feels much of the time like a work of memoir. The best essays are those most closely tied to Jerkins' own experience. She writes about her life with a clear-eyed wisdom that frankly makes me extremely jealous. She is not just vulnerable, but willing to identify and examine her own flaws and biases. That she is able to do this while still in her twenties is astonishing. I admit I had this book for weeks before I read it. It's a difficult world right now and I wasn't sure if I wanted to dive into a book like this. It turns out that once I started I sped through it and it felt good. I wasn't weighed down by these essays, instead they crystallized ideas, helped me see perspectives more clearly, and led me to my own journey of self-examination. It wasn't a depressing experience but an invigorating one.
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  • Rebel Women Lit
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Harper Perennial for an advanced readers copy of "This Will Be My Undoing" in exchange for an honest review.Now more than ever, owing to social media and online publications, black women are at the center of discourse; both as subject matter and narrator. "This Will Be My Undoing" sees Morgan Jerkins, a young black woman, interlacing her personal experiences with historical and modern sources to underscore black girlhood and womanhood against the white backdrop of America. With her Thank you to Harper Perennial for an advanced readers copy of "This Will Be My Undoing" in exchange for an honest review.Now more than ever, owing to social media and online publications, black women are at the center of discourse; both as subject matter and narrator. "This Will Be My Undoing" sees Morgan Jerkins, a young black woman, interlacing her personal experiences with historical and modern sources to underscore black girlhood and womanhood against the white backdrop of America. With her unmistakable intellect, Morgan carries us across the landscape of black female existence. From the stripping of young black girls' childhood innocence and black women's centuries of emotional labour to they're daily fight for autonomy over their physical bodies. Through the lenses of her own experience navigating predominantly white spaces, Morgan displays the full gamut of systemic, emotional, social and generational issues that black women face.What was most appreciated about "This Will Be My Undoing" was the fact that the exploration of black womanhood did not stop at the burdens that black women face every time they meet a new day. What was alarmingly clear, especially in the final chapters of this memoir-esque essay collection, was her humanisation of black women. They feel love, pain, grief joy and happiness. They have hopes, dreams, aspirations and create art. Morgan's emphasis on celebrating ourselves as an inherent act of resistance was a necessary punctuation to this collection. #BlackGirlMagic Equally appreciated is how relatable and understandable this book is. Because Morgan's writing is descriptive and enlists the use of literary devices, it removes a barrier that academic writing often erects. It gives access to the understanding of complex systems of oppression to persons who academia sometimes neglect and, for that reason, we would recommend this collection to persons who are new to black feminism, who desire a fundamental understanding of its tenets. "This Will Be My Undoing" will make waves and so will Morgan. #RebelWomenLit- Kristina Neil
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  • Nicole Froio
    January 1, 1970
    THIS WILL BE MY UNDOING is a book about the experiences of a young black woman in America. Jerkins writing is nothing short of addictive, I devoured this book and learned a lot from it. She writes with honesty, weaving her own experiences with historical references about black culture and resistance, writing and art that made her think, black people who inspire her and white people who disappoint her. Jerkins' writing is complex and her reasoning is nuanced, and she makes clear that this book is THIS WILL BE MY UNDOING is a book about the experiences of a young black woman in America. Jerkins writing is nothing short of addictive, I devoured this book and learned a lot from it. She writes with honesty, weaving her own experiences with historical references about black culture and resistance, writing and art that made her think, black people who inspire her and white people who disappoint her. Jerkins' writing is complex and her reasoning is nuanced, and she makes clear that this book is for other black women by addressing them specifically in a couple of chapters. As a Latina woman, I understand this book was not specifically written for me, but I find it important to read books that are outside of my own scope of experiences and this books is excellent.
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  • Kayla
    January 1, 1970
    This book is EVERYTHING to me. As a Black woman who has existed in primarily white environments, Jerkins words are validating on so many levels. She's is gloriously accurate in articulating many of the thoughts and feelings I've had about being a Black woman in a white world: So many topics, like black women and their hair; whether or not it's appropriate for non-Black people to write about Black women's experiences; "race traitors"; and why it actually is all about race. There is so much to be This book is EVERYTHING to me. As a Black woman who has existed in primarily white environments, Jerkins words are validating on so many levels. She's is gloriously accurate in articulating many of the thoughts and feelings I've had about being a Black woman in a white world: So many topics, like black women and their hair; whether or not it's appropriate for non-Black people to write about Black women's experiences; "race traitors"; and why it actually is all about race. There is so much to be found in the pages of Jerkins memoir, especially as a Black woman. I look forward to reading more of her work!
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    Pulled from my Edelweiss review:"There are some books that you are content to read but don't feel like you need to own. "This Will Be My Undoing" is a book that I'm so glad I read and that I will certainly be going out to buy so it has a permanent place on my shelves. The essays in this book are packed with so much that I know every time I revisit them I'll come away having gleaned something new.These essays talk about what it means to exist in this world as a black woman. There is no separating Pulled from my Edelweiss review:"There are some books that you are content to read but don't feel like you need to own. "This Will Be My Undoing" is a book that I'm so glad I read and that I will certainly be going out to buy so it has a permanent place on my shelves. The essays in this book are packed with so much that I know every time I revisit them I'll come away having gleaned something new.These essays talk about what it means to exist in this world as a black woman. There is no separating the two. Not only was I nodding along while reading I also found myself tearing up more often than I ever would have imagined I would. There's so much depth here. It was a fabulous read."
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  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    (Review originally published in Booklist)“White people see it as a compliment when they do not “see” you as a black person...because in white society, blackness exists only as a punishment. They do not understand that blackness doesn’t undermine but rather vivifies our humanity”Jerkins’ insightful response to the question of why she calls herself a black woman rather than simply “a human” encapsulates the themes of this tender, melodious collection of essays. Whether parsing the pitfalls of the (Review originally published in Booklist)“White people see it as a compliment when they do not “see” you as a black person...because in white society, blackness exists only as a punishment. They do not understand that blackness doesn’t undermine but rather vivifies our humanity”Jerkins’ insightful response to the question of why she calls herself a black woman rather than simply “a human” encapsulates the themes of this tender, melodious collection of essays. Whether parsing the pitfalls of the “strong black woman” trope, marveling at the obtuseness of white friends who casually introduce her to a skinhead, or navigating the layers of meaning around black hair in white spaces; Jerkins speaks firmly and unapologetically of “misogynoir”: the myriad ways black womanhood is demeaned and debased in American society. Jerkins’ forthright examination of her own discomfort with “the kind of black I was not supposed to be” leads to an eventual triumphant reclaiming of blackness in all its power; her heartfelt love letter to Michelle Obama glows with familial pride in “the beacon that reminds us that the ascendancy of a black woman...is possible”.
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