Monday, May 28, 2018

Book Review: Well, That Escalated Quickly

Author: Franchesca Ramsey
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

In this sharp, funny, and timely collection of personal essays, veteran video blogger and star of MTV's Decoded Franchesca Ramsey explores race, identity, online activism, and the downfall of real communication in the age of social media rants, trolls, and call-out wars. 

Franchesca Ramsey didn't set out to be an activist. Or a comedian. Or a commentator on identity, race, and culture, really. But then her YouTube video "What White Girls Say . . . to Black Girls" went viral. Twelve million views viral. Faced with an avalanche of media requests, fan letters, and hate mail, she had two choices: Jump in and make her voice heard or step back and let others frame the conversation. After a crash course in social justice and more than a few foot-in-mouth moments, she realized she had a unique talent and passion for breaking down injustice in America in ways that could make people listen and engage. 

In her first book, Ramsey uses her own experiences as an accidental activist to explore the many ways we communicate with each other--from the highs of bridging gaps and making connections to the many pitfalls that accompany talking about race, power, sexuality, and gender in an unpredictable public space...the internet. 

WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY includes Ramsey's advice on dealing with internet trolls and low-key racists, confessions about being a former online hater herself, and her personal hits and misses in activist debates with everyone from bigoted Facebook friends and misguided relatives to mainstream celebrities and YouTube influencers. With sharp humor and her trademark candor, Ramsey shows readers we can have tough conversations that move the dialogue forward, rather than backward, if we just approach them in the right way.

Franchesca Ramsey found fame on YouTube and has since built her comedic, inspirational empire. This memoir is full of her advice from topics like how to navigate stardom to basic, simple, and general life advice. Her personality shines through in her writing, which if you have watched any of her YouTube videos, you know is simply a treat in itself. I felt like I was having a conversation with someone I had known forever – her writing is simplistic and completely relatable.

Her approach to activism is light-hearted and easy to digest, which I was worried about to begin with. This can be a topic that many people go overboard with in the most cynical and “I-know-it-all” fashion. She admitted her wrongdoings in the past and apologized for her faults and mistakes. Great voice – I am excited for what Franchesca does next!

There will undoubtedly be times where there’s no resolution, and you’ll leave the conflict frustrated and drained. And then there will be other times, maybe a month or even a few years later, when it will all feel worth it.

While I’ve never been to prison, I’ve marathoned enough episodes of MSNBC’s Lockup to realize that school is the closest most of us will ever come to the clink.

Choose your opponents (and your friends, duh) wisely.

I loved everything about this book. The writing is easy to follow and my favorite part were the mixed media portions like infographics and text messages that read just like a story. If you need a pick me up, a good laugh, or to realize that you are not the only person out there who has made questionable mistakes, then this book will definitely be for you.

***A free copy of this book by the publishers at Grand Central Publishing in exchange for my honest review***

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