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This Is Major: Book summary and reviews of This Is Major by Shayla Lawson

This Is Major

Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope

by Shayla Lawson

This Is Major by Shayla Lawson X
This Is Major by Shayla Lawson
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2020
    336 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

From a fierce and humorous new voice comes a relevant, insightful, and riveting collection of personal essays on the richness and resilience of black girl culture - for readers of Samantha Irby, Roxane Gay, Morgan Jerkins, and Lindy West.

Shayla Lawson is major. You don't know who she is. Yet. But that's okay. She is on a mission to move black girls like herself from best supporting actress to a starring role in the major narrative. Whether she's taking on workplace microaggressions or upending racist stereotypes about her home state of Kentucky, she looks for the side of the story that isn't always told, the places where the voices of black girls haven't been heard.

The essays in This is Major ask questions like: Why are black women invisible to AI? What is "black girl magic"? Or: Am I one viral tweet away from becoming Twitter famous? And: How much magic does it take to land a Tinder date?

With a unique mix of personal stories, pop culture observations, and insights into politics and history, Lawson sheds light on these questions, as well as the many ways black women and girls have influenced mainstream culture―from their style, to their language, and even their art―and how "major" they really are.

Timely, enlightening, and wickedly sharp, This Is Major places black women at the center―no longer silenced, no longer the minority.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] bold and deeply personal celebration of black women's lives and culture...The author honors black women in their fullness. A hilarious, heartbreaking, and endlessly entertaining homage to black women's resilience and excellence." - Kirkus Reviews (starred reviews)

"Lawson's skill for storytelling gleams...This book is an accurate account of surviving discrimination that also envelops universal themes like coming-of-age, self-exploration, and resilience. It is Lawson's love letter to herself and every other Black woman who may have felt invisible or misunderstood...the totality and the essence of Black women are front and center here." - Booklist (starred review)

"An introspective collection, both enlightening and humorous, that is highly recommended for readers interested in creative approaches to memoir and storytelling." - Library Journal (starred review)

"Poet Lawson, the director of creative writing at Amherst College, offers personal stories and cultural observations in this insightful collection...With sharp insight, she elevates the discussion of race in America." - Publishers Weekly

"A kaleidoscope of wit, humor, sorrow and deeply felt thinking and questioning of modern life. With a poet's precision and with a brand of candor and urgency known to us only as Lawson-eque, these essays mark a pivotal expansion in a poet's bold breach of new ground. And what fertile ground it is." - Ocean Vuong

"Shayla Lawson is the real deal. There's no way around it. Whip smart, singular, and endlessly fascinating, This Is Major is the kind of calling card even author dreams of writing, but not many are able to achieve. I cannot wait to see what she does next!" - Phoebe Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of You Can't Touch My Hair and Everything's Trash, But It's Okay

"In Shayla Lawson's engaging new collection, the essays are not the only thing that is major. Lawson's voice is honest and authentic--that is major. She does not tear through slices of black contemporary womanhood so much as she meanders through them, stopping to smell Black girls' roses and to catalog our thorns. It is a careful yet carefree collection." - Tressie McMillan Cottom, National Book Award-nominated author of Thick and Lower Ed

"In This Is Major Shayla Lawson skillfully illuminates the unparalleled influence black women and girls have had on mainstream culture. I learned so much from reading this book, while also relishing the humor and fearlessness of Lawson's inspiring voice. It's a must-read for anyone interested in pop culture, history, or politics." - Camille Perri, author of The Assistants and When Katie Met Cassidy

The information about This Is Major shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Shayla Lawson

Shayla Lawson grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. She is a professor at Amherst College and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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