Publication date: December 2017
Review, short version: Four skunks out of four.
Review, long version:
I first encountered Tiffany Haddish last December during a radio interview about her new book, The Last Black Unicorn.
I’m always looking for something to read, so I was interested in hearing what she had to say. Especially since she was introduced as “the breakout star of this summer’s raucous hit movie, Girl’s Trip, and last month, Haddish became the first African-American woman stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live.”
Tiffany had plenty to say in the interview, and I wanted to know more, so I added my name to the waiting list for her book at my library. The book is so popular – it’s been on the New York Times best seller list for 12 weeks – that I waited nearly three months until it was my turn.
During that three months it was easy to learn more about Tiffany – she’s all over the media. According to one online source, “The 38-year-old comedian has endured poverty, the foster care system, molestation, and a throng of other traumas. And in her pursuit to become a successful comedian and actress, she infamously once lived in her car.”
How did Tiffany go from homeless – to presenter at the March 4 Academy Awards?
Here was a story I had to read.
When I finally had Tiffany’s book in hand, I was elated. I started to read, and my elation quickly turned to disappointment.
For here is someone who may have an inspiring story to tell, but lacked something – the motive, or the imagination, or the editor – to help her choose the right words. As a result, her story is lost in passages like this, on page 90:
Then I started to get pissed. I realized this motherfucker is giving this bitch all my fucking tricks. Ain’t that some bullshit?
Then he started fucking her. And he’s fucking her without a condom.
And I didn’t have to wait until page 90 for the profanity – the introduction, or “Invitation” as she calls it, is brief, but includes both “shit” and “fuck ups.” Over the next 90 pages I encountered all of the following many, many times:
Sucked, shit, fuck, bullshit, motherfucking, shitty, ass, fucking, bitch, bitches, dick, titties, goddam.
Here’s one more excerpt, from page 87:
What the fuck was on that damn tape? What the fuck was on that tape? I need to know what the fuck was on that tape.…
My hair was fucked, but I gave zero fucks at this point.
This is a twelve-week New York Times best seller?
A 4.04 rating on GoodReads with 10,757 reviews?
A book people are apparently willing – eager – and happy to spend $26 on?
I’m not opposed to profanity, or offensive language, or obscenities, or whatever you care to call it. I sometimes use it myself, and I think sometimes it can be useful and/or funny and/or meaningful.
So my primary issue wasn’t the profanities, but rather the egregious use of them. It was so repetitive, and that became…
Really, REALLY BORING.
Ninety pages were all I could handle.
Back in that radio interview, Tiffany said, “I hope a little girl or little boy reads this and be like, ‘My life is hard, but it ain’t that hard. If she could survive that, I could survive anything.’”
Tiffany, I also hope lots of little girls and boys are inspired by your story.
I also hope they won’t quote you.