Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen
I remember being drawn to this book last Summer by the beautiful tropical and bold cover that it has. Also, what a title - Black Girls Must Die Exhausted. I thought wow, ain't that the truth! But also felt kind of sad about the title...upset to the fact that it's kinda true. I want to thank Harper Perennial for sending me an advanced review copy of this read. They also sent me the cutest tote bag too (you can see a pic of it below)!! I'm in love with it ha. I actually read this book wayyyy back in the summer of 2021 and I'm only now getting to finally writing my book review for it! It is so unlike me to be this tardy with book reviews, but a lot has happened these past few months so...better late than never right? Let's get on with the plot for this read.
We follow a black 33 year old woman named Tabitha Walker. Tabitha has a very well thought out plan to ‘have it all’ which consists of a checklist of all of her life goals that she wants to accomplish by a certain age. Education, great job, down payment on a house, a boyfriend who is marriage material, check, check, check & check! She even has a great standing weekly hair appointment that has yet to fail her.
Everything seems to be going according to plan until the day that Tabby received an unexpected diagnosis that throws her perfect plans off kilter. With her dreams at risk, Tabby is now faced with an impossible decision to make between her career, her dream home, and a family of her own.
With the help of her ride or die best friends, and her rock that is her grandmother, Tabby explores the reaches of modern medicine and tests the limits of her relationships around her. She soon learns her grandmother’s age old saying that may just be true; Black girls must die exhausted.
This book is actually the first novel in a three part series about modern womanhood. I wonder how the other two books will turn out!
This is definitely one of those 'slice of life' type of reads, which at the time when I read it, I was totally in the mood for. Also you know how much I love supporting minority authors so I definitely had to read this book. The title really resonated with me on a deeper level because dear lord! It’s so true!!! I’m so tired…all the damn time! Haha I don’t wanna die exhausted, but alas. I’m here to talk about the book review, not my life.
I actually really enjoyed reading this book. It’s definitely a slower paced read, so if you enjoy those types of books then you’ll like this story. The plot does take it’s sweet time to get going, but one thing that we notice right off the bat, is that this character, Tabby, is definitely doing those cliche things that most women do. Going through their life checklists, and she definitely succeeds to a certain point. Until she hits a curve ball that came out of nowhere. It’s quite a realistic story line, and I think what Tabby goes through would resonate with a lot of women in our current climate. That pressure that straight/cis black women feel to hit all of their targets in life; good job, stable home, the right man, starting a family…it’s all in there.
I loved that Tabby was surrounded by all of these great, strong and funny women throughout the book. The characters in the story were so lovable. I especially adored Tabby’s grandmother, and loved the grandmother’s best friend even more! All of the female relationships were sublime in this read. The author did a fantastic job in creating these very relate-able strong black women that if you are a black girl, you have these kinds of characters or relationships in your life. I liked Tabitha as a person. She had goals, aspirations, she was strong, she held her own. I love to see it. She is a woman to not mess around with. But also, I loved that the author touched on her vulnerabilities. It made her character even more endearing and you wanted to root for her the entire way through.
The writing in this book was also such a delight to read. Very effortless, clean, and engaging. I definitely found myself wanting to read more and more as I turned each page.
I was invested in the story line, I could see myself in each and every one of these characters and loved the representation of strong black women in this read. To put it simply, I enjoyed reading this book. It wasn’t the lightest read, I will say that. It deals with a lot of struggles and challenges that black women face. The book reminded me of a mix between Waiting to Exhale (a 90s classic film) and the TV show, Girlfriends (2000s sitcom). I loved it! Black Girls Must Die Exhausted is about modern womanhood, it’s about strong female friendships, the pressures that black women feel, life in general as a black woman and the life challenges that we face. It’s also about love, laughter, and finding that slice of happiness wherever you can find it.
Definitely would recommend this read to my girlfriends.
For my song pick, I knew I wanted a song about strong black women, a song about friendship and how your girls always have your back, and I knew I wanted it to be by a girl group. Only one black girl group came to mind. I wanted a long standing group and we all know every since Destiny’s Child broke up, there really hasn’t been another black girl group that’s taken over like they did. So for my song pick, I chose an absolute banger, ‘Girl’ by Destiny’s Child. I loooove this music video! They were inspired by the show Sex and the City, one of my all-time fav shows, and I feel like the lyrics as well really vibe with the female friendships in this book.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 352 Pages
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Publisher: Harper Perennial