Thick

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

This was a very well written, eye opening, important book. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
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Shouldn’t have put this one off as long as I did. This is a collection of essays on a few of the issues affecting Black women/girls and Black women of advanced education including the misdirected sexualization of black girls, multiple role management when living within two or more cultural groups, and the AMERICAN standard of beauty. 
Tressie uses a conversational tone in this book that leaves you feeling like you are having a deep and trusted conversation with a friend. 
Tressie says that she doesn’t like small talk and it shows.
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Reading about race issues is, for me, kind of like reading about physics. (Particularly, where race and economics intersect.) I get some of it, but a lot of it is like learning a new way to think, a new way to see the world. A lot of it is over my head. I will keep reading and rereading until it is the new paradigm ingrained in my mind. I want all of that old trash in my head gone, so I'll drown that old way of thinking until I can recognize and call out all the unconscious bias in myself and others. I think, as white people, we all have a lot of work to do. And not just white people like me, a white woman, raised in the South, in a racist family. ALL of us. 

There are so many aspects, so many systems in place, that we, as white people, do not see unless someone puts it in front of our eyes. Those someones ... these important writers like Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ibram X. Kendi, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, are people we should be listening to and learning from. I'm not sure how I can change anything in the big picture, except to use my voice and my votes and to raise my children to see these things and hope that they will go forth and spread the word. 

Two of these essays particularly touched/resonated with me. Dying to be competent and Black Girlhood, Interrupted. I really didn't know what black women and girls had been dealing with all this time. We must listen to them and hear, really hear and understand, their words. 

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a copy of this ARC.
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This is a pretty incredible book, I found it is a great mix of high and low academia.  Tressie McMillan Cottom is a great writer.  Love it.
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Absolutely loved this! I really don't want to say much because I don't identify in-depth with the culture or ethnicity of the women being talked about but as a feminist, this was definitely an inspiring and a pleasure to read this collection of essays. Majority of the thoughts and pieces challenge the usual societal norms and made me think which not many books, especially memoirs, do. It's easy to see the underlying sociological remarks and subtle take on race and/or marginalization so something like this is definitely a recommendation from me.
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I remember my excitement when I saw that Tressie McMillan Cottom was being interviewed by Trevor Noah for the Daily Show. It heightened my excitement, which is saying a lot since I was already deeply excited when I received my ARC for this book. Read it, it is an experience to be savored. It will definitely make you feel all of the potency of how darn smart Tressie McMillan Cotton is and that's okay, be humbled by it and you will come out at the end a better person.
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Tremendous essay collection. I've followed Tressie on Twitter for quite some time and have seen her speak on several occasions, but until now, I'd not had an opportunity to read her writing. Boy, am I glad I've changed this. Her writing is so authentic, full of wit and intelligence, and pushes you to look at the world from a different perspective. Over the last few years, I've read quite a few works of nonfiction from authors of color, and this essay collection is one that made me take a closer look at my own privilege and the advantages I have that I've taken for granted. Five Star Read! *Advance copy provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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I had seen tweets here and there from Tressie McMillan Cottom so I recognized her name when I came across this book on Net Galley. This collection of essays was so powerful. There were experiences that Ms. McMillan Cottom detailed in the book that had me saying, “So I’m not the only one. Other Black women have gone through this...” I don’t want to sound corny, but I felt seen. I didn’t feel as alone in some of the experiences I have had. I was only a few chapters into the book when I went to Twitter and hit the follow button on her profile. It’s one of the best decisions I have made in 2019. Give it a read!
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This book is inspirational! As a black woman, I've had similar experiences. I would definitely recommend this book to black girls and women. It's refreshing to read the work of someone who is honest about our reality. 

I'm looking forward to reading more of Dr. McMillan Cottom's works..
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I was included in the CBC's books roundup monthly picks and chose to spotlight THICK. It doesn't in any way reflect or crystallize my own experiences as a woman, and that's the point. There's no shortage of white middle class feminist writing, and space given to it, and much of the cultural, social history and sociology that I come across for work has a narrow and historically white lens too. This book is intense—there were some tough truths that put me in what you might call a discomfort zone and challenged me in unexpected but necessary ways.
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"Thick" comprises of 8 essays about black people's roles and treatment in society and popular culture.
I loved the author's writing style and voice. I would highly recommend this collection and will definitely follow what the author publishes next!
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"They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that ugly is as ugly does. Both are lies. Ugly is everything done to you in the name of beauty."

Thick straddles the lines of academic writing, memoir, and Twitter snark - all things I love. Tressie McMillan Cottom is fresh with a appropriately biting sense of humor. This book is highly readable, and recommended to fans of Roxane Gay, or any person who feels the needs to learn more about the black woman's (academic) experience.
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I was already a Tressie McMillan Cottom fan from Twitter so I was excited to read this! I was not disappointed. Loved her essays and more academic pieces about race, sexuality and being a woman in America. Cannot wait to read more from her!
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Thank you to Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

Prof. Tressie McMillan Cottom's debut essay collection, Thick, is both wide-ranging in covering important aspects of American popular culture, higher education, race relations, politics, and the prison-industrial complex, yet simultaneous focused in that it presents the nuanced views of an African-American public intellectual and professor with strong social and ethical commitments informed by her subject position. This book is in dialogue with the author's other public writings, such as her famous essay on Miley Cyrus and provides the personal element missing from these journalistic pieces. 
The book is emotionally vulnerable in points through maintaining the nuanced distance that isn't overly moralizing. Cottom's book is tremendously important and it is incredible that she was able to write such a good book alongside her other commitments. This book is recommended for anyone who cares about good writing or America.
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One of my goals this year is to read more books by people who have a different perspective than me. Thick was the first of these. This book was more sociological and academic than I initially expected, but the way that personal essay combined was academic fact was excellent and readable. My eyes were opened to a variety of perspectives I wasn't aware of up to this point, and I was able to see the way black women - or at least this black woman - views and interacts with aspects of our society. There were times that the book was hard to read - not because it was poorly written but because the subject matter was so intense or heartwrenching. I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, but for anyone to engage on issues of race, gender and the divide present in our world - this is a must-read.
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Thick is a non-fiction book that straddles the line between academic writing and memoir – something I personally really happen to enjoy. Here McMillan Cottom writes on a variety of topics, often with anecdotal evidence centered into her more academic musings.

This book both suffers and improves for me because McMillan Cottom comes from a similar academic tradition as I do. On the one hand it means that I am bound to agree with a lot of her analyses, on the other hand some of her arguments do lose persuasiveness because I have seen them done better elsewhere. I especially thought her use of Bourdieu did not always take into account all of his nuances (which I only know of because I am using his works for my own thesis).

I thought this was a well-written collection of essays that manages to make sociology accessible to a variety of readers and for that I was always going to love it. It did not reinvent the wheel but it makes for an interesting discussion starter.
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Thanks to NetGalley for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Right off the bat, I love that Roxane Gay loved this book because I consider both Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom to be integral voices that should be lifted. This essay collection packs so many punches and is well written. As an educated woman of color with multiple feminists texts under my belt I was delighted that so much of the writing resonated with me and elevated my understanding & examination of society's oppression of women of color. Read this book!
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My primary interest in requesting and reading this book was that I felt it might improve my understanding of the black female experience in the U.S., as I am always on the look for the type of works that combine personal narrative and scholarly insight, where the writer will always try to “to refine my analytical concepts without sacrificing my prose.” Not because the data and research added would reinforce and legitimize the personal story, but because it brings into the light a new, different way of using this overly conceptualized vocabulary. 

Tressie McMillan Cottom’s prose is indeed incisive, humorous, and provocative. 

The essays I found most thought-provoking in this collection were:
⇝ “In the Name of Beauty,” where she challenges the unachievable beauty standards, which, by enforcing “the preferences that reproduce the existing social order,” completely exclude nonwhite women. 
“They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that ugly is as ugly does. Both are lies. Ugly is everything done to you in the name of beauty. Knowing the difference is part of getting free.”
⇝ “Black Is Over (Or, Special Black),” where she discusses tensions between African-Americans and black people from other countries:
“These are funny stories about identity and relationships. There is a bit of condescension in assuming that I must be something other than black American if I am also intelligent and high-achieving. But I rarely take these as insults. People like to project the best of themselves onto others.”

The essays I found most heartbreaking, if not shocking, were:
⇝ “Dying to Be Competent,” in which the author takes the tragic story of the death of her premature baby due to racially charged medical negligence to discuss “the image of black women as physically strong without any emotions vulnerable enough to warrant consideration” as “one of the greatest cultural exports from the racist, sexist U.S. hierarchy.”
⇝ “Black Girlhood, Interrupted,” which was more than shocking, because it brings fort sexual violence against black girls and women by highlighting that:
“We are most vulnerable to the men in our homes. We are taught to blame ourselves. But black women and girls face additional burdens of protecting the reputations of black boys and men. As black feminists have argued, that burden has trapped us in cultural silences that a focus on gender violence alone cannot capture.”

I was a bit disappointed by “Girl,” the final essay in this collection, because, even though I know what the author was trying to do – and you only have to look at articles and books like Joanna Russ’s to see how women’s writing has been suppressed and belittled by white men over the centuries, with black women writers being ignored altogether – she somehow stooped to their level. The whole “David Brooks only follows ballers” on Twitter and #TeamFollowBack thing left a bitter taste, because putting others down won’t make you rise any higher, even if it’s some white dude writing about his ridiculous sandwiches! It didn’t feel like the right tone to end the collection. I was taught to always be the bigger person, but I might be wrong. 

“THICK: And Other Essays” appeared on quite a few “most anticipated releases of 2019” lists and it will certainly be on some “best nonfiction lists” by the end of the year, and rightfully so!
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This short essay collection gives you a lot to chew on. Dr. McMillan Cottom approaches familiar topics from an incredibly unique and astute perspective. I love the way she sets up each topic and argument. Silly think pieces, Miley Cyrus, and dismissive doctors become so much more under McMillan Cottom's gaze. What a remarkable voice! This collection is not to be missed.
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Fans of Roxanne Gay NEED to read this book! It is fresh, witty, and has a biting sense of humor that is perfectly present. It almost felt like you were listening to her talk or having a conversation with her. It touches on social media, our current political climate, and what it means to be a black woman in America. This book is highly readable and the one downside was that it went by too fast!
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