Book Review: The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae

Misadventures of Awkward Black GirlIssa Rae is my best friend.

Okay, so maybe she’s more of a friend of a friend. Well, really, if I’m being completely honest she was friends with my RA in college and I never talked to her… but still I knew of her!

What I’m really trying to say is that reading The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl was even more fun given that I kinda sorta knew who she was before she got famous. For anyone who’s seen her most popular web series (same name as the book) they’ll be equally happy as I was to see the awkward Issa Rae they know and love in print.

The book is a combination of really funny anecdotes and some serious personal stuff explored in a thoughtful way. Issa Rae writes about everything from her early obsession with online chatting and a humorous guide on different types of black people, to her father’s infidelity and her own challenges with body image. At first I was really surprised by the serious stuff, but I actually love that Issa Rae opened herself up so much here — fans of her work will definitely get a chance to know her better through the book.

One thing I didn’t know about Issa Rae before reading the book is that her family is Senegalese. Since she describes some of her long visits to Senegal and the importance of her cultural background to her sense of self, the memoir is a bit of a transnational narrative. At the same time, I was excited to see her thoughts on being in South Central L.A. I was glad to see that she wrote about the positive aspects of living in a tight-knit community there, rather than focusing only on issues of crime or violence.

Most of all, Misadventures is a great read because it’s inspiring to see someone who’s “made it” doing what they really want to do in life. Looking forward to watching (and reading) whatever Issa Rae comes out with next.

4Stars24/5 STARS

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. This book is generating positive buzz, mostly from the folks that have been following her. I’m going to go ahead and add it to my list. Although, I’m not in a hurry to read it. I guess because I’ve never seen an episode of her web series and don’t really know much about her.

    1. I hear you, I think the book is definitely more fun as I said for folks who know of her. But I also don’t want to give the impression that it’s not a good read if you don’t. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts when you get around to reading it!

  2. It sounds like an interesting personal story, both her background and her success online. Thanks for the intro to a writer new to me!

    I reviewed an historical YA novel (Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein) today about reverse emigration of a blended family from the USA to Ethiopia set in the 1930s. I thought you’d like it too.

    1. Sounds like a really interesting story Sarah — I can’t say I’ve heard of that title before, thanks for the reference!

  3. Yesss! I read this in May and I really loved it (and Jo-Issa!). I shall post my review of the book on my book blog probably in July. Btw, I really like this blog – I found out about it from Shannon’s book blog – ‘Reading Has Purpose’! 🙂

    1. Thanks! I love hearing other peoples’ responses to the book — looking forward to reading your review also 🙂

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