Why I Chose this Book
I was at my local public library doing some work and reading. After I had finished reading a book at the time, I got up to take a bathroom break. On my way to the restroom, I passed a display case on one of the book shelves. One of the books was the newly released You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson. I had heard of this book because I frequently listen to her podcast Two Dope Queens which she co-hosts with Jessica Williams of The Daily Show. The podcast showcases comedians and the two hosts tell funny stories in between comedians. It’s a good show. Check it out. Phoebe also has another podcast Sooo Many White Guys which you should also check out. I liked the show; I liked Phoebe, so I decided to say “screw you” to my books-to-read list and decided to read this one next.
You Can’t Touch My Hair
Robinson starts the book by letting you know that the book is going to deal a lot with her and race. She then begins by accounting her experience with her hair from a young child to her current self, how her hair has affected her life, how the world around her has affected her hair, etc. She gives a very satisfying account of the history of black hair in the U.S. From there, Robinson gives her opinion on topics such as “the angry black woman myth,” the word “uppity,” being the black friend, letter to the first female president, and crappy casting calls among other things.
This was a fun read. I read it in three days. The entire time while reading it, I heard Robinson’s voice. Phoebe’s personality shines through in her writing. That might actually be an understatement. I don’t know her personally, but from what I’ve heard of her from her Podcasts and a few interviews online, this book is just Phoebe Robinson in book form. Also, her knowledge of pop culture is ridiculously vast and she uses it to her advantage.
Three for sure gripes I have: 1) When referencing Uncle Ben’s famous line “with great power comes great responsibility” from Spider-Man Robinson references The Amazing Spider-Man movie version rather than the Tobey McGuire version, 2) she made a joke about Wolverine’s adamantium giving him healing power, but Wolverine’s healing power and his adamantium claws are two separate aspects and 3) guest writer John Hodgman states that Black Panther is African-American. He’s not. He is black, but he is African. These are literally the only things that pricked me a little bit about the book to me. Does that say more about me or the book?
I will say that because this book is written very much with Robinson’s personality oozing from every page, if you’re not familiar with her or maybe you just don’t like people with her personality type, then this book could possibly…potentially be off-putting. Maybe. You might read some things she writes such as “ridic.edu” and think “what the heck is she doing?” It’s very informal and conversational.
This is an entertaining and enlightening read. This book was good for not only insight into “the black/black female experience” in the U.S., but also insight into the mind and life of Phoebe Robinson. I finished the book feeling a little bit more like Phoebe and I were friends.
P.S.: Guilty Pleasure (Actually, more like a guilty habit): Sometimes, when on a bus or train of strangers, I’ll imagine which of those people (women) I would “pair up” with if the world ended and we passengers were the only survivors.