SOCIAL SCIENCES

You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism

Grand Central. Jan. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9781538719367. $28. SOC SCI
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With frank humor, Amber Ruffin, a writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers, collaborates with sister Lacey Lamar to tell a series of stories describing life as a Black woman in the United States. The authors complement each other, and succeed in drawing readers into the setting of their military family and childhood in Omaha. Black women will relate to many of the situations Lamar has experienced throughout her life, such as being mistaken for another coworker or a random Black celebrity as well as being followed in department stores or accused of shoplifting. What sets the book apart is Lamar's firsthand recollections along with Ruffin's commentary on the ongoing emotional toll of racism. The inclusion of photographs of the sisters throughout adds to the personal perspective. Black women will find themselves nodding along as Lamar navigates the workplace, dealing with the emotions of coworkers who have never worked with a Black woman before or people who don't recognize her after she changes a hairstyle. As Ruffin plainly states, "white vulnerability is valuable and Black vulnerability puts the Black person in danger."
VERDICT A must-read that will have Black women feeling seen and heard, and will allow others to better understand the effects of racism. With YA crossover appeal, this is also an excellent choice for book clubs.
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