Saturday, August 20, 2022

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.

It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.

A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist. 

Paperback, 357 pages
Published June 6th 2021 
by Atria
2.5/5 stars

The Other Black Girl is the story 26 year old Nella Rogers who works as an editorial assistant. She lacks confidence and tends to second-guess herself.

I wanted to love this book, I heard so many great things on Instagram but I just struggled to connect on a number of different levels. I liked the blurb and the mystery it eluded to but while The Other Black Girl started out strong (for me) sadly went down hill with a very slow paced story with most of the action happening in the last quarter of the book. What happened at the end left me scratching my head. 

This started out as a combo book/audiobook but I ended up just listening to the audio and to be honest I'm not sure I would have finished if I read the book. Though I was genuinely curious about the conclusion getting there wasn't easy. There was a fair amount of repetition and characters I just didn’t like or care about.

There was also a backstory here from 30 years ago interwoven to present day. The big twist at the end was OK but I think at that point I was just happy to have finished listening to this book.

Given those I follow on GR it appears I might be in the minority with my feelings.

This book was part of my 2022 Readingoff my shelf challenge.

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