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Bitch Is the New Black: A Memoir
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Bitch Is the New Black: A Memoir

3.3 20
by Helena Andrews
 

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Meet Helena Andrews, sassy, single, smart, and, yes, a bitch—but Tina Fey said it best, bitch is the new black!

When Helena Andrews heard this declaration on Saturday Night Live, her first reaction was How daaare you? But after a commercial break and some thought, she decided to poke at the stereotype that says "successful" and "bitch" are synonyms.

Overview

Meet Helena Andrews, sassy, single, smart, and, yes, a bitch—but Tina Fey said it best, bitch is the new black!

When Helena Andrews heard this declaration on Saturday Night Live, her first reaction was How daaare you? But after a commercial break and some thought, she decided to poke at the stereotype that says "successful" and "bitch" are synonyms. Unafraid and frank, she comes to realize that being a bitch is sometimes the best way to be—except, of course, when it's not.

Bitch Is the New Black follows Andrews—sexy, single, and a self-described smart-ass—on her trip from kidnapped daughter of a lesbian to Washington, D.C., political reporter who can't remember a single senator's name. Told in Andrews's singular voice, this addictive memoir explores the roller coaster of being educated and single while trying to become an "actual adult" and find love.

In these candid yet heartfelt essays, she chronicles that ride from beginning to end: a childhood spent on an all-white island, escaping via episodes of The Cosby Show; being set up with Obama's "body guy" Reggie Love by Maureen Dowd; and the shocking suicide of a best friend. Through it all, Andrews and her gang of girlfriends urge each other to "keep it moving." But no one can stay strong all the time—not even the women we believe do so without trying.

As Andrews says, "Despite the fact that the most recognizable woman in the United States is black, popular culture still hasn't moved past the only adjective apparently meant to describe us— "strong." She is also flawed, tired, naive, greedy, gutsy, frightened, and kind: secret sides that come out in honest detail here.

Editorial Reviews

Shonda Rhimes
Bitch Is the New Black is an authentic fresh exploration of what it is to be young, black, and single right now—from a voice both outrageously funny and heartbreakingly honest.”
Angela Nissel
“I didn’t like this book. I loved it....I’m giving copies to all of my girlfriends who have crazy families, love lives that revolve around IM, and, of course, I’m pretending I helped Helen write it.”
Associated Press
“[A] bitingly funny — and honest — read....[Andrews] establishes herself as an individual, proving that the women who fit into the “strong (single) black woman” category are more complex than the one-dimensional persona lets on.”
Associated Press Staff
“[A] bitingly funny — and honest — read....[Andrews] establishes herself as an individual, proving that the women who fit into the “strong (single) black woman” category are more complex than the one-dimensional persona lets on.”
Bust Magazine
“Andrews’ combination of personal anecdote and analysis of success and race makes her tales unique. And at the same time, her exploration of gender in America is one surely any woman can relate to.”
Washington Post
“With honesty and wit...Andrews is not afraid to reveal anything, even her bra size.”
Kirkus Reviews
Political reporter Andrews assembles 16 autobiographical essays exploring her unconventional upbringing, academic and professional accomplishment and the challenges of being a successful, single black woman in Washington, D.C. The scathingly witty author examines a wide variety of topics that, beneath the jokes and sarcasm, address weighty issues (depression, aging, abortion) with wry astuteness. The "bitch" referred to in the title is an allusion to the tough veneer-perhaps subtly survivalist-that Andrews claims is necessary for a black woman who is often the only black woman in school or at work. She reveals the inception of this facade in chapters about her childhood, where she describes being the only child of an openly gay single mother whose eccentricities were both fascinating and impenetrable. One anecdote describes the author's abduction by her grandmother at age six, in a misguided attempt to protect her; another details her attempt to reconcile the Bible with her mother's homosexuality (she couldn't). Whatever the effect of these profound incidents, the author clearly inherited ambition and confidence. She attended Columbia and Northwestern before climbing the ranks as a reporter in Washington-a situation that presented an entirely new set of obstacles, from finding an apartment without rats to finding camaraderie in the workplace. "There's something terribly frightening about being the only black person at a political newspaper when there's a black guy running for president," she writes. "Or should I say freeing?" Much of the book chronicles Andrews's dating misadventures. Nearing 30, and with a hilariously grandbaby-crazed mother, the author's reaction to a Washington Post headline titled "Marriage Is for White People" is understandably incredulous. Andrews, however, finds comfort in her artistic success, and has already sold the movie rights to her book. An irreverent, savvy and sharp memoir.
Nancy Trejos
Andrews's exploration of what it's like to be young, black and single in Washington, D.C., is at times cringingly frank. Still, any young professional woman, regardless of color, will relate.
—The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061778827
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Pages:
244
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Shonda Rhimes
Bitch Is the New Black is an authentic fresh exploration of what it is to be young, black, and single right now—from a voice both outrageously funny and heartbreakingly honest.”
Angela Nissel
“I didn’t like this book. I loved it....I’m giving copies to all of my girlfriends who have crazy families, love lives that revolve around IM, and, of course, I’m pretending I helped Helen write it.”

Meet the Author

A graduate of Columbia University, Helena Andrews has written for numerous publications including Glamour, the New York Times, and TheRoot.com. She lives in Washington, D.C., and is working on the film adaptation of Bitch Is the New Black.

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Bitch Is the New Black 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
liberalheartk More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story although the writing was not that great. I saw a bit of me in Helena and it made me relate to the story that much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to read this book. I read reviews for weeks and told all of my friends that we should read it. However, I'm disappointed and have taken day long breaks from the book. Helena's path is admirable and there are some amusing stories, but overall the book is a lot of boring rambling...I hope the movie is better :/
Pokiebird More than 1 year ago
I read this book for book club and I can't say how disappointed I am in this bleak version of a memoir. The author sums it all up on the second page when she states, "I'm an idiot." She only proves that she is incredibly shallow and thinks herself too important. She should have kept her journal entries to herself. The entire book is composed of flashbacks that have flow or reference to the topic at hand. I would only recommend it to anyone that is a non-reader because even a 4th grader could get through this one in 1 day and feel like they got nothing out of it.
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Natalie Hooper More than 1 year ago
anyone ages 24-30 can read this book and feel.like the characters are their friends. This was great!
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Jazzmen Knoderer More than 1 year ago
I heard great things about this book, so I was very excited to get my hands in it. Boy -- was it a treat. It is a brutally honest look inside the mind if a young, black twentysomething trying to figure it all out.
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angiej More than 1 year ago
Reading this memoir was almost like reading my life story. At times I couldn't tell whether she knew some of my secrets or maybe she had just gone through some similar issues. I would say that if you are young, single, and having the dating blues this is a great read for you! There is no direct advice, but you get a chance to take an outside look into someone's life in a similar situation.
Mrs_ASmith More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that I expected this book to be more about the author's relationships with men, and less about her 'additional' relationships with her friends/family. In the end, due to her ethnicity and her association with a special sorority (*smile*), I was deeply hoping for a "happy ending". However, even w/o my imagined finale, this was an enjoyable read.
Disappointed2 More than 1 year ago
Terrible...is not a big enough word to describe this.