Somehow, I hadn’t heard of Ms. Ajayi until a couple of months ago. Clearly, I have been missing out. Thankfully I learned of her via this great collection of essays.
When, after seeing the entertaining cover, someone asked what I was reading, I described it as a little bit silly but a lot serious. Some of the topic areas might be considered lighter fare, which is what I was expecting for the whole of the book (again, my fault, as I wasn’t familiar with the author). But it’s so much more than an amusing frolic through modern-day ways people act like asshats; it’s also a collection of essays on serious topics.
These topics benefit from Ms. Ajayi’s talented way with words; she can drop in a clever aside or snide remark into a very serious essay without breaking up the flow. It doesn’t lessen the impact; instead it reminds the reader that these issues are not so esoteric that we can’t all have a vested interested in addressing them.
Ms. Ajayi discusses rape culture, racism, religion, fame, feminism and more in this collection, and I felt I either related to or learned something from nearly every one. The only section where I felt some measure of disagreement (and it was such a tiny measure) was with her description of atheists. I appreciate that as an atheist I was already going to be a bit sensitive to what anyone says about this group, and others might read it and totally agree with her take on us. Regardless, even that bit was edifying to a degree.
I was expecting an entertaining etiquette book and instead got deep social criticism, and that ended up being exactly what I needed.