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They Said This Would Be Fun

Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up
Written by: Eternity Martis
Narrated by: Eternity Martis
Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
5 out of 5 stars (46 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

National Best Seller

A powerful, moving memoir about what it's like to be a student of colour on a predominantly white campus.

A booksmart kid from Toronto, Eternity Martis was excited to move away to Western University for her undergraduate degree. But as one of the few Black students there, she soon discovered that the campus experiences she'd seen in movies were far more complex in reality. 

Over the next four years, Eternity learned more about what someone like her brought out in other people than she did about herself. She was confronted by white students in blackface at parties, dealt with being the only person of colour in class and was tokenized by her romantic partners. She heard racial slurs in bars, on the street, and during lectures. And she gathered labels she never asked for: abuse survivor. Token. Bad feminist. But, by graduation, she found an unshakeable sense of self - and a support network of other women of colour. 

Using her award-winning reporting skills, Eternity connects her own experience to the systemic issues plaguing students today. It's a memoir of pain, but also resilience.

©2020 Eternity Martis (P)2020 McClelland & Stewart

What the critics say

"University is a time of major personal growth and excitement but also systemic, baked-in discrimination and inequity. This book is for anyone who is still making sense of it all but especially for those who need communion with a beautifully-written account of what it's like to finally find your people." (Hannah Sung)

"With fierce intelligence and flashes of humour, Eternity Martis exposes racism and sexism on contemporary university campuses through her personal story of coming of age as a young Black woman at a predominantly white school. A deeply felt memoir about resistance, resilience and the life-saving power of finding your own voice." (Rachel Giese, author of Boys: What It Means to Become a Man, winner of the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing)

"I'm angry to hear that Canadian universities are still ignoring and isolating young racialized women, decades after my own experiences there. But I'm very glad that Eternity's brave, honest, and funny book will be there for students of the future - as well as for institutions whose leaders have the courage and decency to change." (Denise Balkissoon, executive editor, Chatelaine

What listeners say about They Said This Would Be Fun

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written, candid and raw.

Loved it. Teared up several times, raged internally at other moments. It was an important listen. I am so glad I did.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Struck me to the core. Eloquent. Raw. Powerful.

"From the ages of 18 to 22, I learned more about what someone like me brought out in other people than who I was. I didn't even get the chance to know myself before I had to fight for myself."

This is a beautiful book. Beautiful for its words, its strength, its lessons, its truths. To say that I adored this book makes it sound like I enjoyed every moment of it, and it's hard to say that because so much of this book is about ugly, terrible, real things. However, Martis eloquently and unapologetically pulls together her experience at Western University and as a visibly Black girl then woman in Canada so that when she's speaking of things like violence, racism, harassment, and rape, her language (and her storytelling through the audiobook version) is intensely attention-keeping.

I audiobooked this memoir, and listened to the epilogue four times. It made me want to leave my bed, hoist a cardboard sign for revolution and run into the street. I went back to sections that struck me to the core with either intense empathy, rage or moments of recognition as she put to words experiences I've had with harassment and assault. "I knew I didn't miss you, I missed the idea of who you could be, the lost opportunities for us to be healthy and functional." Bam! Straight. To. My. Soul.

I'm not a Black woman, so I'm grateful for Martis's willingness to share such a raw story so that I could learn more about the province I come from, Ontario, and discover more about the insidiousness of racism in Canada, of which we white Canadians do such a good job of remaining ignorant to, or eschewing responsibility.

I started up a purposeful path to diminish my ignorance, recognize my privilege as a visibly white woman, and broaden my understanding of the society I'm a part of a little while back, at the tumult from the murder of George Floyd. I should have started long before. I've been working my way through memoirs and more text-book style works on the BLM movement, racism, white supremacy and the governments, societies, bigotry and policies that keep incredible inequality in place between white people and people of colour. Of the books, content and videos I've consumed thus far, Martis's memoir has struck closest to home for me not just geographically, but also for her intimate story of finding her way in university, bravely battling through the attacks on her, her love of writing, her pursuit of journalism, and creating herself.

Martis's memoir, true to the journalist who wrote it, is full of figures, facts, studies, examples and references to the racist world we live in, the racist, problematic Canada we live in. I was consistently filled with rage, grief and disgust at the evidence Martis sprinkled liberally through her telling of her own experiences. Evidence for things like violence against Black men and women, especially women, in Canada, the endemic rates of sexual violence on Canadian university campuses, the rates of intimate partner violence in Canada, the rise of white supremacy in Canada. The list goes on.

There's so many other, incredible aspects to this book. Its honesty, its powerful messages, its rebellion-laced paragraphs that have the ability to storm castles and enact change in hearts. I hope Ontarians read this, I hope Canadians read this, I hope white women and men and people with minds in need of broadening read this. I will read this again and again to remind myself that I've faced harm, I've faced violence, but the colour of my skin has likely never been on someone's checklist for reasons behind why I may have "deserved it."

"Our voices can join a legacy of stories that have changed the world, that create quiet revolutions and roaring revelations."

"We did not put ourselves in this current cultural climate, but we are responsible for getting each other out."

"We are glowing with rage, the kind that can shatter glass ceilings and scorch the earth. We are emotional with grief, with tears that can flood oceans and put out blazing fires. We are soft with compassion yet powerful enough to dissolve borders. Our words are cutting, deep enough to slash through the pages of history and write it anew."

I'll leave the rest for you to read on your own. I cannot recommend this book enough.

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  • JMS
  • 2020-07-13

This reframed my perspective about London, ON

This will be an eye opener for students, parents, and academics who believe that Canadian campus life is unmarred by the problems of racism and sexism that are more openly discussed in the USA.

My complete review is available on 8+ platforms through Anchor: https://anchor.fm/audiobookreviews

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Great!

Excellent analysis of the issues at hand mixed with personal stories and experiences on a Canadian campus.

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  • AH
  • 2020-04-12

An Eye opener for us all. great book. Aubrey H.

Loved it. amazing Narration. I'm sad, 21st Century and to still see, so many women of color still struggling to take their rightful place in society Shame on us all.

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They Said This Would Be Fun...and it was!

This book made me cry, laugh and groan in frustration! I will definitely be re-reading it.

Martis' writing is clear, comedic and incisive. It's filled with insightful reflections and relevant anecdotes for anyone who attended a Canadian Post-Secondary Institution. I recommend this book very highly!!