T H I C K And Other Essays – Book Club Read

Our second book of the month was called Thick and other essays, yes it is a non-fiction since it was our theme of the month. And I would say that most of people  in the book club did not like it, only one person out of 7 liked it so far because she didn’t  manage to finish the book on time. Two other people didn’t finish the book either but their thoughts were similar to ours from the first half they’ve read.

My main problem with this book was her writing style. I couldn’t read it as a novel because the flow is too dry to follow but I couldn’t read it as a scientific paper either because she keeps adding her own thoughts and opinions. Sometimes she would switch from hard on facts to random links between black and whiteness. Essays in my opinion should have a clear and central idea.  It has to be organized logically, flow smoothly, and “stick” together as my teacher used to say. 

Although the issues raised in the essays are deep social wounds and the book contained thought-provoking ideas, they felt lost in the writing style. The essays don’t quite read like a research paper by not being thorough in the arguments and references; nor does it do a good job of telling the stories of “blackness” because of how dry it is for the most part. At the end of the essays, I found myself searching for a message to ignite a political change, but came short on it most of the time. This book wasn’t for me, I just wonder for whom it was for. – Roozbeh

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Along with that, what I despised more even in an author is their condescending tone.  Even if I do acknowledge it is difficult the conditions she’s been living in as a black woman, I don’t think the hate that generalizes to all the white is justified nor do any good to the world. It is not okay to punish an entire population because of their ancestry. 

Dr. Cottom’s attempt to highlight African America social issues is impeded by her condescending and accusatory tone. She repeatedly targets the reader – somehow implying their direct involvement in wronging her. Despite her insistence that she is an academic, these essays read as a crazed rant rather than a reasoned discourse. Thick is the poster boy for a good message spoiled by poor delivery. – Matthew

And for God’s sake, I haven’t read anyone who would always insist they are academic every two lines. It’s too much, we get it you got your education but mentioning in every single page?

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Unfiltered and unfocused, Thick reads as an unedited recount of a self-justified blogger, in book form. Light on references yet dense in fallacies, Dr. McMillan Cottom explores black social issues in the US by alienating the reader and members of her community with her tortuous verbiage and direct personal attacks. A spectacular failing at a cross between personal essays and academic text formats. – William

For the same social commentary, I would definitely recommend Invisible Man by Ralph Edison, The Hate U Give, Dear Martin, Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay and more.


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