ASK Musings

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October 2018



Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

Best for: People who like personal essays and also Ms. Robinson’s style of humor (e.g., loads of hashtags)

In a nutshell: In the follow-up to her first collection of essays, Ms. Robinson shares more of the serious aspects of her personal life (including her financial challenges, her experience with interracial relationships, and the failures of feminism) while also telling hilarious stories about meeting Oprah and Bono (not at the same time, but could you even imagine?).

Worth quoting:
“I am also a ludicrous trash fire like the kind you see on Naked and Afraid when people sign up to be in the wilderness when they’re barely capable of troubleshooting Mozilla Firefox, let alone making an actual fire from scratch.”

Why I chose it:
I enjoyed Ms. Robinson’s first book, and this one looked pretty great.

I have to admit that I don’t listen to 2 Dope Queens anymore. It sort of fell out of rotation for me, mostly because some of the stand-up acts were just not my thing, and it’s hard to figure out how to fast-forward the right amount on a podcast. But that doesn’t mean I stopped enjoying Jessica Williams or Phoebe Robinson. So when I saw Ms. Robinson had a follow-up book out, I knew I wanted to read it.

I laughed a lot while reading this book. Not on every page, but definitely each essay — including the more serious ones — offered something to crack up about. I think her style may not be for everyone, as she tends to employ a lot of ridiculous abbreviations and beyond long hashtags, but for me, it works.

While the book focuses on some things that are indeed trash, I also really enjoyed the sections where Ms. Robinson focuses on what’s gone well in her life. It doesn’t feel like bragging; it’s just more fun to read about the good things. I’m genuinely happy for her.

That said, the serious chapters are well done. The essay on feminism is a great look at the ways women of color often don’t feel supported by white women, and her vulnerability when discussing her financial troubles is relatable to the point that I think it could genuinely help some similarly situated folks.

If you like Ms. Robinson, I think you’ll enjoy this book.

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