Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen

“Black girls must die exhausted” is something that 33-year-old Tabitha Walker has heard her grandmother say before.  Of course, her grandmother (who happens to be white) was referring to the 1950’s and what she observed in the nascent times of civil rights.  With a coveted position as a local news reporter, Marc– a “paper-perfect” boyfriend, and a standing Saturday morning appointment with a reliable hairstylist, Tabitha never imagined how this phrase could apply to her as a black girl in contemporary times – until everything changed.

An unexpected doctor’s diagnosis awakens Tabitha to an unperceived culprit, threatening the one thing that has always mattered most – having a family of her own.  With the help of her best friends, the irreverent and headstrong Laila and Alexis, the former “Sexy Lexi,” Tabitha must explore the reaches of modern medicine and test the limits of her relationships to beat the ticking clock on her dreams of becoming a wife and mother.She must leverage the power of laughter, love, and courageous self-care to bring a healing stronger than she ever imagined – before the phrase “black girls must die exhausted” takes on a new and unwanted meaning in her own life.   

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Characters: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Pace: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Plot: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Themes: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

In the acknowledgments, Jayne Allen writes:

…this book itself is my love letter – to you, to black women, to women and to all those who understand the beauty that comes through struggle and the benefit of doing their own work to heal, to understand, to grow, and most importantly, to love more fully.

From the moment I read this sentence, I knew this book would be different from others that I normally read. Though it’s a work of fiction, it could easily be a reflection of my own life and the life of others like me.


This may just be my new favorite read of the year! This book captured the true essence of what it feels like to be a 30-year-old black woman, unwed, and without children and being in a situation where you’re ready to be married and have children but find out that neither of those journeys are as close as they seemed in your mind.

Granted, I’m not quite to 30 years old, but there were many things in Tabitha’s story that resonated with me. For instance, the fear/worry of not being able to have kids: Literally what I’m going through right now. The constant inward dialogue (and outward when it comes to family) of whether or not focusing on your career left you spending too little time focusing on your relationships.

But, mainly, I think what made me appreciate this book so much was the raw and open way so many experiences were brought up in one novel. Tabitha is seen as a passionate woman, a career woman, a girlfriend, a granddaughter, a friend, and a daughter. You see her existence through multiple frames of reference, and are shown the full picture of the complexity of what makes us who we are. None of us are just one thing: We put on different hats, become who we need to be based on who we are around, and give pieces of ourselves in many different ways

Did I mention this is a trilogy?? Book two, And Baby Makes Two is set to be released in September 2019 and I’m stoked to continue Tabitha’s story!

I received and eARC in exchange for an honest review. Special thanks to NetGalley and Quality Black Books!

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