The Other Black Girl

S. & S. Audio. Jun. 2021. 13:33 hrs. ISBN 9781797124759. $39.99. F
Harris’s compelling debut is part satire and part thriller, topped off with a good measure of social horror. Nella Rogers is an underpaid, overstressed editorial assistant struggling to gain recognition and respect as a Black woman at a high-powered New York publishing house. When another Black woman, coolly confident Hazel-May McCall, joins the team, Nella is thrilled. Nella’s initial elation sours, however, as she soon discovers that Hazel is laser-focused on upward mobility, not solidarity. Primary narrator Aja Naomi King fully communicates the office’s unsettling atmosphere, where sly microaggressions are pronounced with sweet smiles. King’s measured portrayal of Nella is masterful, bringing out her infectious passion as well as her helpless anger and increasing despair. King deftly brings out the nuances in Nella and Hazel’s speech, seamlessly code-switching from silkily professional to relaxed and casual. Narrators Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Heather Alicia Simms, and Bahni Turpin complement King’s performance, voicing the points of view of other Black women in Nella’s circle, all of whom endured constant trials as they sought success.
VERDICT This thought-provoking novel will appeal to listeners looking for a socially conscious, horror-laced version of Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada.
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