Must Read: Bitch Is The New Black
My favorite new book’s called Bitch Is The New Black, but it could very easily be titled Bitch Is The New Middle Eastern. Or Bitch Is The New Latina. The name obviously makes sense for racial and satirical purposes (it’s based on a Tiny Fey skit during Hillary Clinton‘s presidential run), however, writer Helena Andrews has written a tome that speaks to all professional women in their late twenties and early thirties (including yours truly) caught between a burgeoning career, dramatic relationships, the idea of motherhood and more.
Growing up in a generation shaped by hip-hop, “independent women” like Helena and myself tend to love ourselves. A lot. We feel we’ve risen above the misogyny of the music that often surrounds us (we’re the girls caught singing along to “Ain’t No Fun [If The Homies Can't Have None],” declaring the song’s not talking about us), and we’ve made it out of our teens and twenties almost unscathed and without a public scandal. That is, till we decide to write a book like Bitch Is The New Black, where we open the floodgates and let it all hang out.
Helena (pictured above) dishes on her life in a comical, self-deprecating way in Bitch Is The New Black, both sure and unsure of herself simultaneously. In a detached yet intensely intimate way she describes pivotal moments in her life, like the suicide of a close friend in her early 20s: “Black chicks don’t do this. They aren’t supposed to just up and leave, because they have expert knowledge about just how much that shit [life] sucks.” Like her reaction, as a teenager, to her mother being beaten by her girlfriend: “All I could see was a revolving brown ball of lesbian. Two women trying desperately to shove the truth into the other through any means necessary.” Like being introduced to a “good catch” (President Obama‘s bodyman, Reggie Love) yet still holding on to an obviously flawed relationship with an ex: “I was the one going crazy, finding fault in a nationally ranked bachelor in favor of a retard who made nonsensical gonad jokes and couldn’t tell the difference between friend feelings and more-than-friend feelings.”
With a deadpan approach to matters usually reserved for saccharine emotion, Helena Andrews’s Bitch Is The New Black veers slightly into teary-eyed territory but never quite makes it. Who needs tears anyway, when you have the “best p*ssy in the world,” as one of the chapters describes.
Bitch Is The New Black is unapologetic in its new-school-writing style, a perfect read for Helena’s peers and women in their earlier 20s and late teens. Older readers may feel left out with incessant mentions of AIM, Twitter and constant use of acronyms. But, as Shonda Rhimes (the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, who optioned the book for a feature film before it was even published) describes it, Bitch Is The New Black is “an authentic fresh exploration of what it is to be young, black and single right now—from a voice both outrageously funny and heartbreakingly honest.”
Bitch Is The New Black: A Memoir is available now through Harper Collins.
Image Credit: Washington Post