Welcome back to THE REVIEW!
For the second instalment I thought I would delve back into the world of non-fiction and pick up a book that has had everyone talking for the last few months!
I have always found it difficult to devour these type of books, by “these type” I mean the self help kind because I have never felt like the intended subscriber. There have been times in my life when I have genuinely thought I could benefit from some outside guidance but it is sometimes hard to relate to the voice of the book when it isn’t written by someone I can relate to or written with me in mind. Books that tell me to “be aggressive” and ‘fight for what you want!” kinda fall on my two deaf ears and get thrown in the pile of YOU HAVE NO IDEA!
And my friends that is where Slay In Your Lane differs; this book is aimed at the working black woman, meant to be a guide for someone (like me) who needs a little help navigating the world. I was so here for it before I even cracked it open.
One thing about this book is that it is written by two women in their twenties and it is written for their peers. Even reading the list of interviewees I was filled with a sense of pride simply because each name was a strong dark skinned woman who I admire, from broadcasting to sport; there is a woman who has achieved greatness so if their words and thoughts and experiences are what helped this book along, it has to be saying something right! And there is so much in the first few chapters that I can relate to. It was a little bit weird at first, some of the stories were like they were taken out of my own memories and in others I saw the experiences of my sisters, my cousins, my friends right there, on those pages. Experiences of women who have it harder than me, who have had to fight so much more than me.
I learned from Irene Agbontaen the importance of being authentic, from Karen Blackett the power in knowing your own brand and Susan Wokoma has reminded me of the toxic mentalities learnt in primary school that still carry on today. This book felt personal to me, it showed me how I have been problematic and what I must do to improve. It showed me the common thread in the experiences of the black woman.
I feel that this book stopped a little short of giving actual advice but if ‘actual advice’ comes at the cost of the honesty put into those pages then I can live without it. I feel like this book puts the onus on the reader to take action. I read a few reviews online before giving this book a go and part of the criticism was that Slay In Your Lane describes the experience of black women in various situations but doesn’t spell out WHAT TO DO EXACTLY and for me, honestly it would’ve felt a little cheap if they had just told people what to do:
Don’t touch our hair
Don’t say the N-word
No need to talk “street” when faced with a black person
In previous ‘life guides’ and ‘how to’s’ I have felt a little patronised by the language used, I find that a lot of self-help books attempt to baby their reader and I think that Slay In Your Lane’s attempt at reaching their reader on a intelligent level comes at the cost of telling us exactly. what.to. do. Instead it shows you the consequences of action and the real life effects. It teaches you from the perspective of a black woman and what you do with that new knowledge is up to you.
This book is something that I would pass on to my niece in the hope that she reads it (she is 13) and it helps shape her because that is what I wish I done. I wish this book was available when I was younger so that I could read about things before they had happened to me, I feel I would have been better prepared for adult life.
Reading about the micro-aggressions that black women experience makes me believe that everyone should read this book. Not, funnily enough, just black women. I think this book should be read by all different types of people so that they can see, written down; the experiences of black women in all aspects of life; from work to dating. To see (like me) where they might be the problem and change that.
There are a few gems I will take from this book and that is all you can ask for really isnt it? That you are left with something you didnt have when you began? Is it the life-guide which would hand-hold and walk me through the challenges of my everyday life? No. Has it given me a real insight into the mind of black women? Yes. Does it inspire me? YES and to end I will say I don’t need a guide to being light skin in 2018 to show me that darker skinned women have it more difficult. I didn’t need this book to either but just in case you are one of those people who “doesnt see the difference” between colour or culture or class or anything else; read this and see for yourself x