Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower /
Brittney Cooper
NY: St. Martin's, c2018
288 p.

This is one of the books by Black women that I found in my library last month, and I really, really liked it. Brittney Cooper is indeed eloquent, and lets the rage fly. I learned so much. 

The book is a set of personal essays, ranging between topics like sexuality, anger, women's friendships, respectability politics, exceptionalism, religion, and more. In every essay, black women's lives are centred. As the book's blurb says, 
Far too often, Black women’s anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Cooper shows us that there is more to the story than that. 
She certainly does. She is both justifiably angry about a lot, and extremely eloquent. It was a pleasure to listen to this on audiobook and hear her arguments and reasoning about so many things. I appreciated having to move out of the way as not the intended audience for once, which I usually am as a white middle aged female reader, and listening to her words that are completely and thoroughly based in black women's lives. 

I found her powerful in her analysis and pointing out of social absurdities, and also often very funny. Her intelligent sarcasm was refreshing and the kind of conversation I can really engage with. There were experiences she discussed, especially those of a good girl growing up in the church, that I really resonated with myself, and recognized issues that resulted from that upbringing. This isn't a churchy book, though; there's lots of swearing, discussion of sex, women's desire, and the not so great aspects of religion, even while she recognizes faith as an important element of her life. I love the way that everything is there, and not siloed off into separate things that pretend not to co-exist. 

This was both a purely enlightening and enjoyable book. Maybe not enjoyable in terms of the subject matter, when she's bringing up racism, sexism, daily microaggressions, and oppressive history, but in the way she talks about it, shines light on it, and leaves the reader with a sense of her power and personal presence in it all. A great read. 


  1. I'd like to read or listen to this book and learn more. Terrific review, Melwyk!

    1. It's really good. I hope you do find a copy!


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