Cover Image: I Take My Coffee Black

I Take My Coffee Black

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Member Reviews

I didn’t intend to read a book so heavily imbued with religion. But in the end, I’m very glad I did.

Tyler Merritt is the type of person who lives what religiosity is supposed to be. The book is filled with Tyler being vulnerable, making mistakes, and trying to make it through life. He’s very open abouit his sex life, which is something that a lot of Christians would treat with fear. It’s because, at his base, he lives the values that religious people claim to live by. When I read about his religious conversion, I have to admit that I reflexively felt like I’d been been duped into reading a book designed to proselytize. Instead, Tyler just refined his values to fit in with his new faith. He stayed an honest, compassionate person who now had purpose.

A great biography is one where the author is honest with the reader. Tyler is very honest. He’s often the butt of the joke in his stories. He takes full ownership of whatever he’s done to hurt others and tells us how he’s trying to be better. The end result of this is that I felt like I was reading a letter from a friend. My compassion and empathy for Tyler only grew as I read the book. I sincerely hope he’s able to keep living his best life.

I recommend this book to anyone. People like Tyler are few and far between. We need to listen to them when given the chance.
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I'll never feel what it's like to be Black in America. But I can get closer to understanding what one Black man feels by reading memoirs like Tyler's. He's brutally honest in this book about what it's like to be six foot two and black with dreadlocks in the United States. He lays it all out here: the good, the bad, and everything in between. Including the hope.

His experiences come to life through his stories. (And if you need to hear his voice, watch his viral video, "Before You Call the Cops.")

"I was thinking that maybe if you got to know me, you wouldn’t be frightened. Or better yet, maybe you’d see that we have more in common than you thought. Or better yet, at the end of this book, you would think to yourself, “Man, that Tyler Merritt. We could kick it. For real.” Or at the very least, the next time a six-foot-two black man comes near, you might think to yourself: “Maybe he’s listening to Bring It On: The Musical.” And maybe we’d grab a cup of coffee, and you and I could laugh about it. Because I think you’d like me if you took some time to get to know me."

My thanks to NetGalley + Worthy Publishing for the review copy of I Take My Coffee Black.
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A vulnerable and enlightening read about what it means to be a Black man in America today. Merritt shares his personal stories and experiences and he is engaging, inspiring, and hilarious. Don't rush through this - reading it is like sitting with an old friend and this book is a great choice for discussions or perspective. Loved it!
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Funny, affecting and at times, heart wrenching, "I Take My Coffee Black" is a great read. Merritt found viral fame when his video "Before You Call the Cops" caught fire on social media. This book shares more of Merritt's personal stories and experiences. This is not a book you can rush through--it's truly like sitting and having coffee with an old friend. 

Merritt's heart, love for others and commitment to truth, along with an amazing sense of humor makes this book a great choice for social discussion with a group or just to give yourself some perspective. I loved it!

*There is some language in the book, fyi, but I didn't feel it was overwhelming.
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I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is such an incredible book.

Merritt opens up about his life, his faith, and his experience as a Black man in the US. 

He shares his family history and his own through stories and lessons giving us the heavy context of why having a white woman fear his proximity all the more hurtful. This book is honest, personal, and compelling.

I will say I struggled with Merritt's view of women at times. While he recognizes that seeing partners as equals with feelings was a struggle for him early on, there are times throughout the book that made me wonder how much his view on women has changed. I suppose I was expecting something more salacious and without too many details had trouble understanding why some of these escapades were so painful for both sides.

This book shows us such a vulnerable side of Merritt that will make you laugh and cry.
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This book isn't always easy to read, because it discusses hard, important topics. But you should read it anyway, to try to understand what it means to be a black men in a racist society. 

I really liked the author's writing style. 

Thank you netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for a review.
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In "I Take My Coffee Black", Tyler Merritt's risky gamble to demonstrate how proximity breeds empathy pays off. With humor and pearl-clutching directness, we are taken on an authentic journey of what it is to be a black man in America. The risk he takes is in sharing the best and worst of his life. His openness draws the reader in and takes us on a wild ride. The book is sometimes hilarious, sometimes searing, sometimes heartbreaking.  Tyler says he believes you will be a better person if you ever meet his mother. I believe him. I also believe you will be a better person if you meet Tyler. You can do that by reading his book.
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I Take My Coffee Black is an important read to learn and educate oneself about racism in the United States. This book really enlightens and illuminates what black manhood is like in America.
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I absolutely loved this book!

First, it's funny, you can hear the writer's personality come through his written words. 

Second, it's an education. Not only what it's like being Black in America, but a strong man who feels that his faults and past haunt him. 

Most importantly his message and reason why he wrote the book are he wants to truly want to BUILD a better world where humans create genuine empathy. He truly wants people to see past color, size, and honestly get to know a person before judgment. If you are looking for a book to make you smile, laugh, and make you think, I highly recommend "I Take My Coffee Black"...
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I loved this book. The author bares himself in a very vulnerable way because he believes that allowing that level of proximity into his life and his experiences will have a positive impact on how the world perceives and reacts to people of color. And I think this book has the potential to do exactly that. As an author and narrator, Tyler Merritt is engaging, endearing, inspiring, and hilarious. He weaves historical lessons on race in America into his personal stories about his experiences as a black man growing up in Las Vegas, and the ease in which he does this is kind of brilliant at times. I was moved, challenged, inspired, and impressed as I read this book, and it was so engaging that I couldn’t put it down. After I finished reading the book, I listened to the audiobook, and it was like unlocking a bonus level. The audiobook is amazing, read by Tyler himself, and his heart and personality shine through in a way that adds depth and richness to an already deeply personal story. 
I highly recommend this book.
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I loved this book. I don’t say that very often.  I am not much of a reader, and I HATE reading on my cell phone.  But I read all 18 chapters on my cell phone!  That’s how much I loved it.   (I got an advanced copy, and I was too technologically obtuse to figure out any other way to download it.  So, yeah.)  In many places in the book, Tyler would say to go and watch a movie or listen to an album before proceeding.  But I just kept reading.  I couldn’t put it down.  Because I loved it that much. (And also I am not as submissive as I thought I was.)
I Take My Coffee Black is an autobiography.   It is hilarious, poignant, persuasive, educational, and inspiring, and it is written as if Tyler is sitting next to you at your kitchen table, just telling you his story.  (Probably why he tells you in the title that he takes his coffee black.)
One of the key points Tyler is making is that proximity breeds empathy.  So he gives us all proximity to his own heart and soul.  He is transparent, in all his awesome beauty of spirit and in all his most shame-filled brokenness.  And we can all empathize… because he masterfully lured us into proximity beginning on page one.
I learned a lot about Tyler Merritt by reading this, but I also learned about myself and about our society.  Racial oppression and conflict (both past and present) are not ignored, but the truths about these issues are related to Tyler’s own life story.  So as the reader comes to know (and love) this one black man, they also learn in clear, observable, real, personal illustrations about patterns of injustice that have affected his life and his heart.  
So the book is awesome.  Tyler Merritt is awesome.  You really need to and want to read it.  You can thank me later.  Right now, I have to go watch Miss Saigon.

(I submitted this review to Amazon a few minutes ago, but it is not yet published online, so I do not have a link.)
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If you know how to read or have ears you NEED this book in your life. It’s challenging, it’s beautiful, and it’s extremely well read (I could listen to him read anything). From the very minute when he decided to read it his own way he had my attention. His story written is something we can all learn from, and maybe it will encourage you to think twice when you see others just living. 

-“The Irish people speak of thin places… When something touches a humans soul and he or she is gripped by Something More.” This book brings something more. His love, his faith, his humor and heart, his hurt, and his humanity are captured so well in these pages. And there are Hamilton references. Which if you know me you know I LOVED. Most of us know and believe that our stories, our testimonies are not just for us but are meant to be shared so others can see the Grace of God in our lives. If you’re willing, you will learn. This story is raw. It’s real and unreal and it’s amazing to see where it leads. Y’all go buy this book.
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Please read Tyler’s story. It’s ok if you disagree with him (especially about bananas). I think he’d respect that and offer to sit down with you and talk. And listen. By openly admitting he’s not perfect, he allows the rest of us the grace to admit, even if just to ourselves, that maybe it’s ok if we aren’t perfect either. His unflinching honesty and quiet resilience are inspiring, and I am grateful for the non-preachy (and hilarious, and heartbreaking) way he encourages us all to be better.
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Insightful book, lots of humor and plenty of history woven into it.  I had never heard of the author before seeing this book and was intrigued enough to intice me to read his story.  Spent an afternoon reading it and gaining more insight into the black experience of Tyler Merritt. I can imagine some experiences being heart-rending and others down right frightening. I have known people of all races, cultures, and faiths and I know many who have had a very difficult time in the US. It really isn't a very friendly or tolerant nation. I straddle two worlds and sometimes  wonder at the "war zone" my family picked to settle in. Sometimes it's just exhausting. Mr. Merritt's bio is a most personable and introspective read.. Kudos Tyler Merritt!
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In I Take My Coffee Black, we learn about the good and the bad of Tyler Merritt, really what makes him human. He takes us through his life intertwining pop culture and history to help the reader relate to him and understand the context of the events while still making it fun yet informative (but not too preachy). What's it like to grow up in Las Vegas? Was his dad a tiger handler and his mom a show girl? What hotel did he live in? I guess you'll have to read and find out! When it comes down to it, if we all got the chance to sit down for coffee with one another, maybe we'd realize how much more we have in common than what we have that is different.

I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the publisher. These opinions are my own.
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Tyler’s book is such a delightful read — even the tough parts — because it’s immediately like having a conversation with a great friend you’re getting to know on a deeper and deeper level. Even the historical drops are easy to read, not at all didactic, just a friend summing up a bit of history you might have missed in a cool way. You will finish this book wanting to spend more time with Tyler Merritt and, if you’re anything like me, wanting to meet up again, wrap him in a big hug, and sit down to talk some more.
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Tyler describes himself as a 6’2” dreadlocked black man. As a 5’1” white woman with super-short hair, my life experiences have been significantly different than his. We also have a number of things in common, and some of them might surprise you. Tyler and I wholeheartedly agree that:

Betty White is a national treasure.
The film Dirty Dancing is a cinematic masterpiece.
Spiders are evil.
Having people judge you based on what they don’t know about you is painful.
And being seen for who you are is one of the best feelings in the world.

But it’s not always comfortable to let people see who you really are a world where there’s so much pressure to live a life that’s Instagram-worthy. It’s much easier to keep a safe distance…

Distance breeds suspicion.

In his book, Tyler gets REAL in an effort to close this distance, giving us the opportunity to see him both at his best and at some of his darker moments. All of us have both, and can easily connect with Tyler as he shares his stories…

Because proximity breeds empathy.

We find ourselves in a time that seems focused on the things that make us different and encouraging us to distance ourselves from those who aren’t like us. And many of us are struggling to be authentic in a world that makes it scary to do so. Tyler offers a solution, and it’s an easy one: be real and get to know people who are different than you.

And he shows us how to do it with the personal stories he shares. Showing us that it’s not only possible for one person to make a difference, but it’s something each of us can do. It gives me hope for a future in which we can celebrate the unique things that make us different and empowers me to be a part of making that happen.

You’ll have a hard time putting this book down after you pick it up. You’ll laugh, cry and even learn some history along the way as Tyler shares his journey. And you’ll see the importance of connecting through the things we have in common to develop empathy for those things that make us different. 

Tyler says that if you met his mama, you’d instantly be a better person…I’m pretty sure I’m a better person for having read his story, and I think you will be, too.
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I've been reading a lot of books by Black authors over the last few years. The never-ending killings of Black people by cops was wearing me down. I knew if this white woman was feeling it, the Black community was in deep suffering. I had to learn more; how could I help?

Tyler's book is unlike any of the books I've read so far. He shares his personal story with great transparency, and had me laughing and crying throughout. Reading his book feels like you're sitting across from him, having a conversation. But wait...is it a history book? Because I learned some things I wish I didn't have to, but need to, and I am not alone.

Tyler's big on proximity, and he's not wrong. The dictionary defines it as "nearness is space, time, or relationship". Tyler's book shows why it's so important, how it "destroys suspicion and distrust", breeding empathy. He has orchestrated projects that bring unlikely people together, for important, life-changing conversations.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll also be encouraged by this book. Tyler has a way of reaching through the pages to impart how special you are (yes, YOU!) I usually have about three books going at one time, and I planned to take my time with I Take My Coffee Black, savoring it in bits and pieces. That didn't happen! Tyler's book is hard to put down. I'll be reading it again. (I hear the audiobook has some treats!)
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As a 6'2" dreadlocked Black man, Tyler Merritt knows how to write a relatable, hilarious, inspiring book, and I say that as a 5'7" tattooed white woman. His story has something for everyone, truly. Even if you don't know Counting Crow's hits or have never heard a number from Miss Saigon - this book is for you. Even if you fear bursting into flames every time you find yourself having to frequent a church or are whiter than a white teen talking back to her mom for not having enough extra caramel on her PSL - this book is for you. 

Honestly, I was briefly concerned about the religious talk as someone who is deeply NON-religious, but Tyler shared every bit of himself - and big pieces are his faith - without being the least bit preachy. 

I absolutely loved how American History was woven throughout the book as needed. The lessons were succinct, impactful and flowed perfectly with the larger story so that you forgot you were actually *learning* beyond Tyler's narrative. 

This is easily in my Top 10 favorite books of 2021 (and this is book 70 for the year so far), maybe Top 10 favorites... ever. I am grateful that Tyler Merritt was willing to be so vulnerable and share his story with the world. He's right - proximity DOES breed empathy. This book is a great place for so many people to begin very important conversations that can help build bridges of understanding.

Note- I received an advanced digital copy of this book. These opinions are my own.
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I Take My Coffee Black: Reflections on Tupac, Musical Theater, Faith, and Being Black in America by Tyler Merritt is an important book that I think everyone should read. What does it mean to be a black person in America? I was blessed to know Tyler back in his college years. When I saw that he was writing this book, I knew I wanted to read it because he is one of the most genuinely kind people I have ever met. He's the real deal. To know Tyler is to be fully embraced and accepted as you are. That's how he has always been. Tyler somehow wrapped up his incredible personality and delivered it in the form of a book. Reading this book is like sitting down with him for a life giving, life changing conversation. Come as you are. Listen to his journey. Be willing to challenge your expectations and listen with your heart. You'll never see things the same again. Tyler opens your eyes with his experiences but he has a way of lifting the reader up with his encouragement and honesty. I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages and backgrounds. We need to read it in order to truly understand each other. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.
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