If you only have time read one book this season, make it Morgan Jerkins’ This Will be My Undoing. Released in late January of 2018, the book is now a New York Times bestseller. It might be sitting somewhere in your house or on your kindle and maybe you haven’t gotten around to reading it.
That is what happened to me. I bought the book and then my personal life hit the fan and I just found it again a few weeks ago.
Jerkins presents a life lived with thoughtful care not only because she is a thoughtful person (because she is) but also because as a black woman in America, if she wants to be successful, there is really no other way to live. Through medical procedures and family sorrow, Jerkins continued to present a public face of dedication, determination and a willingness to work through all pain. Because she had to. There is no slack for black women in this country and Jerkins knew that and knows that. Since there are very few first chances for black women, there are unlikely to be any second. Mistakes a white woman can make and come back from are often terminal for black women.
“I’ve never thought I was anything but human. My black womanhood does not cancel out my humanity. These are not facts that repel each other.”
Writing about her beloved step father, her mother, women in her community, and Beyonce’s Lemonade as well a myriad of other topics, Jerkins brings to vivid life her experiences “at the intersection of black, female, and feminist in (white) America.” The chapters build steam, each one building on the last until the last three carry the reader into vividly present conversation with Jerkins. Who Will Write Us? How to Survive: A Manifesto on Paranoia and Peace. A Black Girl Like Me. Jerkins begins and ends thinking about her younger self and the physical places she didn’t just inhabit but succeeded in.
Jerkins’ is a person to look forward to hearing from as time goes on and changes continue to come.