The Angry Black Woman's Guide to Life
Denene Millner et al.
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Buy *The Angry Black Woman's Guide to Life* online

The Angry Black Woman's Guide to Life
Denene Millner, Angela Burt-Murray and Mitzi Miller
288 pages
March 2004
rated 2 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to Life is a fun and insightful book. The three authors tackle many mundane issues with humour and present coping strategies that read like a riotously funny anger management course. The especially witty “what you’d like to do” versus what you should do in demanding situations will tickle your funny bone, for sure.

That being said, what makes an angry black woman (ABW) any different from the millions of other angry women on the planet? Not much really. ABWs have to deal with misbehaving boyfriends and husbands, mouthy children, and annoying coworkers. Sound familiar? It is. This is an all-purpose guide to life which happens to serve a dual function – it offers a contemporary and gender specific insight into racial perspectives and racism. The writing style is lighthearted yet serves up self-affirmative strategies to handle a variety of exasperating incidents. So don’t let the title dissuade you from picking it up even if you’re not an ABW.

The book is divided neatly into what I’d call slices of life: work, family and, of course, racial issues. The final chapter is an ABW bibliography listing famous ABWs in history, film and fiction. It is an informative book that offers contemporary racist scenarios in which the offending speaker may not even be aware of the impact of their statements. Statements such as “Can I touch your hair?” “I don’t see color” and the classic “Some of my best friends are Black.” The authors offer two sets of comebacks for such statements, one is hilariously wicked followed by the more socially acceptable I-won’t-lose-my-job-or-get-arrested response. Yes, the authors have crafted mature and dignified rejoinders while at the same time putting the offender in their place. Perhaps if more people read this book many of those seemingly inoffensive remarks would fade from people’s repertoire of conversation starters and we folks of color would lose our need to cringe internally.

Let’s recap. The book is informative, funny, and relevant, but - and there always is one, no matter how wonderful the book - I was not too fond of the "yo momma"-like writing style that peppers the chapters. This style/theme does not run through the entire book but in some chapters it is so strong it made me think the book should have been titled Platitudes with Attitude.

Right, then, who should read this book? Everyone - yes, male, female, rich, poor, whatever your background - there is something to be learned from this little book. Even if you already have friends who are visible minorities and you’ve read everything Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou has ever written, and you worship Oprah, you will still get something out of reading about ABWs. At least you will have a new conversation starter at your next party.

This book will not only make you think; it will make you laugh. The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to Life rates two and a half stars.

© 2004 by Laura M. Miller for Curled Up With a Good Book

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