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Publisher's Summary

Recommended by the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Book Riot, BuzzFeed, Bust, LitHub, The Millions, HelloGiggles, and UrbanDaddy 

“The author you need to read now.” (Chicago Tribune

“To say this collection is transgressive, provocative, and brilliant is simply to tell you the truth.” (Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist

Smart, humorous, and strikingly original essays by one of “America’s most bracing thinkers on race, gender, and capitalism of our time.” (Rebecca Traister) 

In these eight piercing explorations on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom - award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed - embraces her venerated role as a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and Black Twitter snark about all that is right and much that is wrong with this thing we call society. 

Ideas and identity fuse effortlessly in this vibrant collection that on bookshelves is just as at home alongside Rebecca Solnit and bell hooks as it is beside Jeff Chang and Janet Mock. It also fills an important void on those very shelves: a modern Black American feminist voice waxing poetic on self and society, serving up a healthy portion of clever prose and southern aphorisms as she covers everything from Saturday Night Live, LinkedIn, and BBQ Becky to sexual violence, infant mortality, and Trump rallies. Thick speaks fearlessly to a range of topics and is far more genre-bending than a typical compendium of personal essays. 

An intrepid intellectual force hailed by the likes of Trevor Noah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Oprah, Tressie McMillan Cottom is “among America’s most bracing thinkers on race, gender, and capitalism of our time” (Rebecca Traister). This stunning debut collection - in all its intersectional glory - mines for meaning in places many of us miss, and reveals precisely how the political, the social, and the personal are almost always one and the same.

©2019 Tressie McMillan Cottom (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

"To listen to sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom narrate her prose confirms that no other narrator could do better.... As narrator, Cottom is a divine spinner of tales who knows the right amount of sarcasm to add to certain words. She also knows the right words to express her points and delivers them in such a hypnotic rhythm that one does not want to stop listening." (AudioFile Magazine)

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What listeners say about Thick

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Important, incisive and grounded

I thought this book did a fantastic job of exploring power and social forces at work. And it connected the micro to the macro very effectively, which allowed me as a non-sociologist to grasp (most of) the sociological complexities the book explores. I will read this again.

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  • RS
  • 2021-01-20

Disappointing

I’m sorry. As a white, jewish child of holocaust victims and an empath i wanted insight from Ms. McMillan Cotton. This is well written in terms of vocabulary and intelligence but overall this woman has a huge chip on her shoulder not just for whites but everyone - even Barak Obama. So disappointed. She should look inward.

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Painting prose beautifully

I like how she paints words. The book is equally important and novel. Exceptional read.

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A thoughtful collection

I really enjoyed this collection of essays. The author is forthright and clear about her thoughts/opinions on a variety of topics affecting Black women. I hope that there will be another collection coming soon.

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Brilliant

A very thought provoking and well written collection of essays that I enjoyed very much. Tressie is a fantastic narrator!

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  • Emily Olds
  • 2019-06-02

Not too anything-- just right.

In the first essay in this collection, Tressie McMillan Cottom says that a publisher once told her she was "too readable to be academic, too deep to be popular, too country Black to be literary, and too naive to show the rigor of [her] thinking and the complexity of [her] prose." And yet, this is everything I loved about "Thick." Cottom is wickedly intelligent, and yet her prose is down-to-earth and highly readable. Listening to this just after finishing "Backlash" was perfect-- listening to George Yancy was like listening to....well, a philosophy professor. Listening to Tressie Cottom was like listening to a friend who makes you laugh and calls it like she sees it, and who also happens to be a brilliant and incisive intellectual. This has always been my favorite combination-- the way Walt Whitman writes about deeply philosophical issues with common, Anglo-Saxon language. or the way my favorite professor in grad school would blow me away with intellectual discussions about history and culture and then write "Boffo!" in the margins of my paper. Cottom writes about European beauty standards and how they impact Black women, the trap of wanting to be seen as competent, how Black people "know their whites," Black female sexuality and how men wield control over it, why there are no full-time Black female writers in major newspapers (and yet David Brooks can write about deli meat) , and much more. Most importantly, she give voice to issues that Black women understand and experience and that the rest of us should pay attention to. This and "Heavy" are by far my favorite books so far this year.

31 people found this helpful

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  • oregano
  • 2019-09-15

As an ethnic other....

I very much enjoyed this listen. This is a smart,smart, woman who is living in the real. Maybe cause she was raised right. LOL I never doubted her honesty throughout, She brings forth topics and a perspective borne of personal experience that resonates with me and gave me more than one moment to stop and reflect. She gave words to some thoughts that had been swirling in my head for a while. Thank you, Tressie McMillan Cottom.

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  • Lemart
  • 2019-05-08

Outstanding

There isn’t enough space to comment on what I gained from this book. Honestly, I had never heard of her before. But I’m now a fan. She addresses issues regarding race, gender and economics with an honesty that I enjoy reading. There are a only handful of writers that can cover topics like this. She definitely has the insight. And I’m glad she’s willing to share it.

19 people found this helpful

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  • ANNE
  • 2019-08-13

A different perspective

I did not find this an easy audible experience.As an older white woman I found myself trying to relate my experiences to those of the author.I am still trying to reach a level of understanding for the obstacles faced by women of color and realize it will be an elementary level at best.

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  • Ingrid
  • 2019-10-14

This is a must read for all.

Searing honesty that is often uncomfortable but it’s what we need now. (One could argue this was needed long ago. Lord knows I would have used this book when I taught a summer Feminist theory class in the late 80s. It’s right up there with Audre Lourde’s Sister Outsider and Identity and Difference or This Bridge Called My Back among others.) This book is important and refreshing. She didn’t write it to make us feel good but that’s not where our growth is going to happen. Get comfortable with discomfort. Work with it. Let it seep into your awareness if not your being. Ultimately we’ll all be better for doing so. Not because it’s her role to ‘teach’ us, but it’s up to us to pry ourselves open and to take in other’s perspectives.

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  • Natasha
  • 2019-03-15

Giving voice to the voiceless

I loved this book. The author gives voice to the voiceless while finding her own. It's for all the Black women who struggle with being "too much" for everybody while just being a human being.

16 people found this helpful

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  • A. Yoshida
  • 2020-08-06

Voice of Professional Black Woman

A black woman described as "thick" means she has meat on her bones (nice a**, nice legs, not skinny). While the title sounds catchy and colloquial, the content is an intellectual observation on various topics from the perspective of a professional black woman. Some parts reflect the author's academic background as only a professor would casually slip in "ethos, pathos, and logos" as if that's common knowledge. It's a collection of thoughtful essays that is likely to enlighten people who are not aware of the persistent discrimination, obstacles, and suffering that black people encounter.

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  • Sami
  • 2019-09-30

Black life matters!

Tressie didn't have it easy in her life. She endured many hardships for nothing other than the color of her skin. That's what these essays are about. Yet, she presents in a composed, quiet and clear voice these essays but with compelling logic and adamant attitude.

I can't imagine what she had to go through but I do admire her resilience and what she managed to accomplish in her life.

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  • bettyna
  • 2019-09-18

Just Wow

This is an excellent read, and I am here for all of it! Thank you for this collection of essays that gives words and context to many social nuances that have perplexed me. I had many “ah ha’s” while listening to the book.

The audio is clear and well presented.

My only complaint is that the essays are so intricate and thought- provoking that I wanted more and was sad that my book had come to an end.

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  • Matthew
  • 2019-07-19

Thought-provoking, Conversation-starter

These essays, though having the ethos of denser sociological and ethnographic texts, are approachable and ping the intellect. They immediately have purpose and usefulness in conversation with friends and family about race and identity. Thanks for sharing.

5 people found this helpful