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Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Brené Brown
Marxist Literary Theory: A Reader
Terry Eagleton, Drew Milne

Good Hair

Good Hair - Benilde Little I've avoided reading chick lit novels with black protagonists because I'm sensitive to portrayals of black women as superficial, vain, and irresponsible. But I was still open to the possibility that one day, I could bear a typically white genre coupled with a tepid exploration of race (if it was deep, it probably wouldn't be chick lit) and maybe even enjoy its inevitably schizophrenic depiction of a black female professional. I'm not sure if I wasn't ready, if it's just too explosive to mix the genre with other types of people, or if this is merely a bad book. I'd forgotten that with rare exceptions I find the main character reprehensible within the first few chapters. They're never the fun, irredeemible women of say a Jean Rhys story, and I usually spend the rest of the book fantasizing about how this person could be improved. A trip to the third world? Adopting a child? Flying coach? Doing her own laundry? The problem with this book is that it does bring in weighty issues--incest, the Nation of Islam, domestic violence, suicide, an "unplanned" pregnancy to break up a relationship--and the conflicts mysteriously disappear. That illusion of depth is what frustrated me the most. Perhaps because in a story about black people, one can't have a simple love story (with two perfectly matched selfish individuals). We have to see, however quickly or tangential to the story, the brother who pulls himself up from the ghetto only to possibly go to jail, among other archetypes. The problem is that a book in which extensive descriptions of what people wear passes as character development and equal attention paid to interior decor to heighten drama shouldn't talk about, to pick a couple of topics, incest and suicide, because it's clear how out of her depth the author really is, and the inevitable absurdity isn't even comic. It's just painful.