This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins

This Will Be My Undoing

From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today—perfect for fans of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Fe...

Details This Will Be My Undoing

TitleThis Will Be My Undoing
Release DateJan 30th, 2018
PublisherHarper Perennial
GenreNonfiction, Feminism, Writing, Essays, Autobiography, Memoir, Race

Reviews This Will Be My Undoing

  • Roxane
    In Morgan Jerkins’s remarkable debut essay collection This Will Be Our Undoing, she is a deft cartographer of black girlhood and womanhood. From one essay to the next, Jerkins weaves the personal with the public and political in compelling, challenging ways. Her prodigious intellect and curiosity are on full display throughout this outstanding collection. The last line of the book reads, “You should’ve known I was coming,” and indeed, in ...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    I read a lot of books by women of color, and specifically black women. But I think THIS WILL BE MY UNDOING may be the single book that has most clearly showed me the experience of being a young black woman in America today. I am a white woman and I think part of the reason Jerkins succeeds so wildly is that she is not centering her book around readers like me. Much of what we encounter in the world centers on a default white audience. The fact th...
  • Gabriella
    Wow...I think my main question about Morgan Jerkins' debut is similar to many on my timeline—what book were the rest of y'all reading?My first introduction to Jerkins was her black gentrifier essay, which I read in my freshman year at Penn. As a student attending a university responsible for many of our city's gentrification problems, I found the article to be introspective in a way many pieces aren't. Instead of scapegoating faceless instituti...
  • Thomas
    A compelling essay collection that tackles the intersections of womanhood, blackness, and feminism. I would recommend This Will Be My Undoing to everyone - Jerkins centers black women in her writing so that demographic may find a home in her work, and the rest of us can listen and learn. Weaving the personal and political, she writes about how black women's bodies are viewed and treated as sexual objects, the ways that white women can do things l...
  • Hannah
    I have slightly confused thoughts about this: I thought it was important, well-written, super interesting but at some points not always convincing. I listened to the audiobook read by the author and can only recommend this. You can tell how her confidence in her voice increases and how self-confident she reads her book in the end. I loved that.I adore how Morgan Jerkins does not write for a white reader but rather other black women. As such it wo...
  • Emily May
    I call myself black because that is who I am. Blackness is a label that I do not have a choice in rejecting as long as systemic barriers exist in this country. But also, my blackness is an honor, and as long as I continue to live, I will always esteem it as such. This Will Be My Undoing is a fantastic portrait of one woman's experience with black girlhood. Jerkins explores through essays what it was like growing up as a black girl with racial div...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    An important read focused on the black, female, feminist experience. What I appreciated was how Morgan Jerkins takes another look at events that have already had their 15 minutes, contextualizing them in ways I appreciated learning from, from Linda Chavers' much contested essay about black-girl-magic (and how disability fits in) to Beyonce and Lemonade. She talks about the importance of having a voice in a world that tries to stop it from the mom...
  • Chris
    Feb 2018 My Book Box Non-fiction pick.Disclaimer: I am a white woman. Additionally, I teach students who come from the same places in New Jersey that Jerkins cites in this book. I am trying not to center myself in the narrative, but the first paragraph of the review is in part a gut reaction, so please bear with me.I am conflicted about this book. The thing that Jerkins does and does is generalize. These sweeping generalizations are off putting. ...
  • Obsidian
    Sigh. I don't know what to say. This collection of essays is very good. Jerkins goes into the highs and lows of being a black woman in America. She goes into what it means to be a black woman while on travel (Russia and Japan). She goes into being a black woman trying to be successful, but still treated like she's from another world since many black men out there don't know what to do with a black woman who is out there being a success and doesn'...
  • Janani
    The thing that makes this book absolutely spectacular is that it doesn't center non-Black people. Morgan writes about what it is like to be a young Black woman in America, without diluting the content for those of us who aren't Black women, and it works brilliantly. This is a collection with a memoir-esque feels, interweaving a lot of personal experiences with community experiences. There is a lot of self-examination- she isn't afraid to discuss ...
  • Chanda Prescod-weinstein
    Chapter 9 is great. There are some good threads elsewhere. There is some really problematic writing about Black women in here that literally made me feel that awful feeling in my chest. I wish Morgan had been pushed more to work on her prose here — but more, to work on what she was saying, about whom, and why. I am so confused about why Black women are so heavily targeted and why there are thinly veiled attacks on well-known Black women writers...
  • Ylenia
    ...that saying I feel for you to a woman unlike yourself means you somehow share in experience, is one of the pitfalls that plagues mainstream feminism. It signals to women of color that their stories are only worth telling if a white person can understand them, and therefore that a white person's emotions and responses are of greater importance than the stories themselves. We cannot come together if we do not recognize our differences first.Thes...
  • SUSAN *Nevertheless,she persisted*
    This was a fantastic book. I highly recommend it.
  • Nicole Froio
    THIS WILL BE MY UNDOING is a book about the experiences of a young black woman in America. Jerkins writing is nothing short of addictive, I devoured this book and learned a lot from it. She writes with honesty, weaving her own experiences with historical references about black culture and resistance, writing and art that made her think, black people who inspire her and white people who disappoint her. Jerkins' writing is complex and her reasoning...
  • Kenya Wright
    This isn't a beach read.You'll probably be pretty angry after reading this book.But then you'll probably also gain some understanding of American society through a black woman's eyes. And even if you're a black woman, understanding still comes.Many times I thought she's gone into my head and just wrote things down. I remember wanting to be a white girl, when I was a kid. I remember the horror of perms and the fear of looking too black, too Africa...
  • Cynthia
    There are fragments of gems here. When Jerkins is good, she’s stellar. The best essay was “Human, Not Black,” about her time studying abroad in Japan and finding anonymity and freedom as a foreigner. But much of the rest is either a disorganized mess, frustratingly superficial, or overly dramatic. Jerkins is obviously a talented writer, but she lacks the maturity and wisdom to really grapple effectively with the issues she raises. I was als...
  • Keyona
    There's much to say about this book but I will keep it brief and come back if I need to. This book is exactly what I had hoped and more. This book should be required reading for black women. It is not watered down so that white people can feel comfortable while reading because it isn't about them. If they want to read and learn something then great. Morgan gives us her experience as a black woman in America and basically says " Yea, I know". We m...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    Good essay collection on race and feminism. Very intimate and revealing episodes from her life are paired with relevant social commentary.
  • Xavier (CharlesXplosion)
    A powerful, unflinching introspective collection of essays focusing on the experience of the black female in today's society.
  • Jane
    This might be more like a 3.75...?
  • CoCo Massengale
    3.5 stars. I have mixed feelings about this essay collection. Morgan Jerkins is so obviously talented and has a lot of important things to say, especially about the experience of black womanhood. This was a very meaty book—there are a lot of topics almost shoehorned into some essays. In general, the essays were too meandering for my taste; often I struggled to find the thread of her thought process and though she always circled back, sometimes ...
  • Senshin
    I'm blown away. So beautifully written. Will be reading again. I want to have my kids read this when they are old enough to understand.
  • Kayla
    This book is EVERYTHING to me. As a Black woman who has existed in primarily white environments, Jerkins words are validating on so many levels. She's is gloriously accurate in articulating many of the thoughts and feelings I've had about being a Black woman in a white world: So many topics, like black women and their hair; whether or not it's appropriate for non-Black people to write about Black women's experiences; "race traitors"; and why it a...
  • Katy
    I went into this book fully expecting to love it and came out of it comparing Morgan Jerkins with Lena Dunham. Make no mistake, there are some good essays in here—like the insightful “How to Raise a Black Girl” which details why she specifically calls herself a black woman instead of simply a human being—but I was not prepared for the heaping dose of self-righteousness alongside an appalling lack of acknowledgement regarding the author’...
  • Karen Ashmore
    In this incisive collection of essays that examines blackness, feminism, misogyny and racism, Jerkins writes of her personal experiences growing up as one of the few blacks girls in her predominantly white town, public schools, AP classes, and Princeton. She juxtaposes this influence on her decision to study non-Black languages and cultures (she is fluent in Japanese and Russian) with her desire to live in Harlem as part of the gentrified influx....
  • Edshara
    I feel like other reviewers have better critiqued this book, however, I will try to add my thoughts. For the most part, I liked, this book. I felt like much of what Morgan Jerkins said was relatable, honest and very true. With that said their were some things that she mentioned that I didn't agree with. I wished that I owned this book, instead of getting it from the library, because I would have liked to take more time with it. I found that even ...