Phoebe Robinson isn’t a household name yet, but she will be soon. A comedian on the rise and host of the popular podcast ‘2 Dope Queens’, Robinson has spent 2016 building a name for herself, culminating in the release of her first book- and it’s a treat for fans and new readers alike.
Like all comedians, Robinson talks about what she experiences and observes. ‘You Can’t Touch My Hair’ is about Robinson’s experiences as a black woman in America. From people touching her hair without her permission to being called “uppity” by a producer, Robinson discusses her experience with a mix of humor and exasperation. Robinson often chooses to focus on the absurdity of what she faces (Tone-deaf casting calls, being followed by employees in a Dollar store); but many of her reflections- such as her fear of being labeled an “angry black woman” for speaking out against something obviously wrong- have a ring of sadness.
That’s not to say the book is a downer. Robinson’s writing voice is like her podcast voice, light and full of fun. The essays ‘My Nine Favorite Not-So-Guilty Pleasures’ and ‘People, Places, and Things that Need to do Better’ are particularly hilarious reads. Robinson ends her book on a note of hope, with a series of letters written to her newborn niece, which are adorable, touching, and at some points, inappropriate. The lesson to her niece is clear- she will face hardships, but if she keeps her head up and has a sense of humor, she will get there- just like her aunt.
Funny and thought- provoking, ‘You Can’t Touch My Hair’ continues a welcome trend in comedy books- rather than being a collection of jokes, we get stories and experiences. Robinson is never shy about her thoughts on stage, and this book is no different. Give it a read, and see why Robinson is a comedian on the rise!
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Reviewed by BiblioMecha