The Other Black Girl tells the story of Nella, an assistant to an editor at a prestigious publishing house. She is thrilled when another Black woman comes to work there, hoping for some solidarity in her desire to push for more representation in the books and staff. She is also on tenterhooks because she offended the publisher’s cash cow author by critiquing his offensively stereotyped Black character named Shartricia after the color.
However, Hazel may talk solidarity in the restroom, but in the conference room, she undercuts Nella, praising that offensive character, a drug addict with too many kids and baby daddies. Somehow she has the ability to talk about diversity and inclusion without ever poking a defensive nerve in the almost all-white editorial and executive staff.
Meanwhile, someone is sending Nella anonymous notes warning her to quit her job. There is a thread of resistance conspirators but what is their intent regarding Nella? And is Nella’s boyfriend too approving of Hazel?
The Other Black Girl will surprise you – in a good way. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it is sort of hilarious, though sad at the same time. It is so frustrating not to tell you what is really going on, but that would ruin the book. This makes it perfect for book clubs because you absolutely cannot read this book without wanting to talk about it. Just trust me, you will not see it coming…at least not until near the very end.
The Other Black Girl will be released on June 1st. I received an ARC from the publisher through Shelf Awareness.