Book Reviews

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

  • Title: The Other Black Girl
  • Author: Zakiya Dalila Harris
  • Genre: Black & African American Women’s Fiction
  • Pages: 368
  • Published: June 1, 2021
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Themes: Racism, Bullying, Microaggression,

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Synopsis

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.

It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.

A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.


My Review

This book takes you on a wild ride. It’s a slow read at the beginning but I’m glad I stuck with it because it really delivered in the end. I really didn’t see the end coming at all. And I love those kinds of books. Aren’t they the best? When those last couple of pages are a true surprise?

Here is my problem though:

During the book it talks a lot about Nella trying to bring diversity into the workplace. And when they have a Diversity Town Hall at Wagner things go downhill. When people were supposed to say words they associate with diversity Nella offers the acronym “BIPOC”. Now the white people in the office begin to offer their own examples with, “left-handedness,” “nearsightedness,” “dyslexia, and “non-millennial.” I mean seriously? This is just one of several examples of how white people are portrayed in the book. We are made to look stupid. And really unaware of anything and anyone around them.

As a white person we’ve been told and taught about racism for years. As it should be. But what about the other side? And what about just looking at people like people? Shouldn’t that really be how we see each other? When I visit other countries there isn’t this huge issue because they don’t see black, brown, white, yellow. They see people. A person. Can we please get to that point in America?

O.K. Off my soapbox. I will say that Harris did an excellent job with this as her debut book. She’s got a huge future as a writer. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

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