Black Girls Must Die Exhausted

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Author: Jayne Allen
Genres: Fiction
Pub. Date: Sep. 2021 (read Nov. 2021)

This book was an impulse buy for me when I saw it on sale at Chapters. I haven’t quite figured out what the deal is with the book – it’s listed as a 2018 release on Goodreads, but it’s definitely being promoted as a new release, with the second book being released Feb. 1, 2022 (again, despite being listed as a 2019 release on Goodreads). 

Either way, I decided to purchase it and heard a positive review about it from GabbyReads and decided to jump right in, otherwise I haven’t seen any other hype about this. Which is a real shame because I ended up really liking it!

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted features 33 year old Tabitha Walker, a reporter with KVTV news in Los Angeles. She is up for a promotion at work, which she has worked insanely hard for, when she finds out that she has fertility complications that means she needs to have a baby within the next 6 months if she ever wants to get pregnant naturally. That, or she can freeze her eggs. 

This was such an interesting premise to me as I’ve been starting to hear more and more about – young(ish) women deciding to freeze their eggs to give them more time to establish their careers – and it’s something I’ve never seen written about. I’m 31 and relate to feeling pressure about when you’re going to have kids, so I jumped at the chance to read about another young 30 year old. So many bestsellers focus either on proper young adults (17-20 year olds) or on women already married with children, I’ve always felt like there’s been a huge gap of meaningful books in the new adult genre and rarely see any books about 30 year olds that don’t already have established families. I feel firmly in this category of millennials that have not yet had children, so it was a real joy to read from Tabitha’s perspective.

It’s very much a character driven novel about what it means to be a working black woman and centers on familial relationships, friendship, and romantic love. I found it to be a little heavy handed at times – with the author falling into the “show don’t tell” trap that ensnares a lot of debut authors – but I felt that she was trying to cover over the gaps in perspective that some of her non-black readers might have, so I was able to look past it. She covers a lot of themes within 350 pages, but I liked that this was a thoroughly modern storyline and that she included some really tough choices, with honest depictions of their impacts. I feel like we’re so used to getting the happy ending in stories like this and I really liked that the author was committed to exploring the reality of Tabitha’s situation, rather than trying to write a happy ending for the reader.

The main complaint I have with this book is that it ended too soon. I know it’s a series and there are going to be more books, but I felt like the author tied up a lot of loose ends much too quickly and easily in the epilogue. She takes her time throughout the entirety of the novel, but once she hit 350 pages it was like she realized she had to finish and a lot of the book’s major plot points concluded in the span of a few pages. I would have preferred for her to either write a longer book, or to just leave these items as loose ends to be followed up in the next book. From the sound of the synopsis for the next book, it’s not going to be an immediate continuation of this book, which is a little frustrating. It just made the ending quite disappointing after having invested so much time in the story. 

Anyways, I would still recommend this book and I am anxiously awaiting the second book, which is slated for (re)release just a few weeks!

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