Jerkins's essay unflinchingly examines her experiences with black womanhood in white America. Diving into racism, colorism, adult virginity, and cultural assimilation, this debut is a feminist must-read. Recommended By Haley B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by Esquire, Elle, Vogue, Nylon, The Millions, Refinery29, the Huffington Post, Book Riot, Bitch Media, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and Paperback Paris
From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’s 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 Ngozie Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.
Morgan Jerkins is only in her 20s, 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.
Whether she’s writing about Sailor Moon; Rachel Dolezal; the stigma of therapy; her complex relationship with her own physical body; the pain of dating when men say they don’t “see color”; being a black visitor in Russia; the specter of “the fast-tailed girl” and the paradox of black female sexuality; or disabled black women in the context of the “Black Girl Magic” movement, Jerkins is compelling and revelatory.
“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....a writer to be reckoned with.” Roxane Gay
"I found myself sighing, nodding, gasping, laughing, and crying while reading this collection — but mostly cheering! We can all sleep well at night knowing this country will inherit a heart, mind, and soul like this." Porochista Khakpour, author of Sons & Other Flammable Objects, The Last Illusion, and Sick
“Each chapter provides insightful, personal, and frank analysis of how several identities can and do overlap with one another.” Library Journal Review
“There’s a radical honesty and warmth in these essays, no matter the topic.” Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh and Queen of the Night
“...Morgan Jerkins’s debut collection is an invitation to conversation with a ferocious intellect and a singular, uncompromising voice....Readers who encounter this debut will be hard-pressed not to have felt something shifted within themselves when they put it down.” Alana Massey, author of All the Lives I Want
“Jerkins is one of the smartest young writers of her generation, and this is an insightful, revelatory collection of personal essays about a variety of today’s important issues. So fantastic.” Bookriot
“Jerkins’s forthright examination of her own experiences leads to a triumphant reclaiming of blackness in all its power.” Booklist
“Jerkins’s debut collection of essays forces readers to reckon with the humanity black women have consistently been denied. Her writing is personal, inviting, and fearless as she explores the racism and sexism black women face in America...[a] gorgeous and powerful collection.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Morgan Jerkins is an associate editor at Catapult whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, Vogue, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Elle, Rolling Stone, Lenny, and BuzzFeed, among many others. She lives in New York.
Morgan Jerkins on PowellsBooks.Blog
I was sitting upright in bed while revising “A Hunger for Men’s Eyes,” one of the most vulnerable essays that I’ve ever written, a page-upon-page admission within a chapter in my debut essay collection, This Will Be My Undoing
. My eyes scrutinized each word that peeled away my neuroses surrounding men, dating, and sexuality...