February 2015 Book Reviews



Thug Kitchen: Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck
Thug Kitchen
Rodale Books
Street: 10.07.14
Thug Kitchen, a popular blog, encourages readers to stop relying on processed food, eat more vegetables and spend more time in the kitchen. Over the past year, I’ve followed Thug Kitchen for easy, healthy vegan recipes. It was also pretty amusing to read since the blog contained a lot of swears. With the release of this cookbook, the authors were revealed to be a young white couple from Hollywood. Like many other people, I assumed that the author of the blog was some kind of veggie-loving Samuel L. Jackson warning people, “Don’t fuck around with some sorry-ass ten-dollar takeout.” “Digital Blackface” is a term I became familiar with after reading many essays about the problems that Thug Kitchen presented. A few months ago I reviewed “Afro-Vegan: Farm Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed” by food activist Bryant Terry. He penned a thoughtful essay about the troubling nature of Thug Kitchen for Eatocracy, which is worth googling. Thug Kitchen remains on my bookcase, referred to occasionally, but I like to keep it a few books away from Afro-Vegan. –Amanda Rock

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir
Liz Prince
Zest Books
Street: 09.02.14
Liz Prince’s Tomboy is an introspective and fun collection of awkward phases of growing up against gender norms. It’s a story about embarrassment, rebellion and self-acceptance, and it speaks to all the tomboys in the world who’ve had identity crises. The merciless teasing of non-clever peers throughout school reveals that bullying can result from any non-conformity despite any of the few attempts one makes at being part of the crowd. In a funny and poignant way, Prince details the terrors of societal pressure and gender expectations and the constant conflict between gender, sex and presentation. The book aims to answer the question: What does it mean to be a tomboy? It’s just another label of identity that Prince investigates and unravels with nearly every person she meets. It’s a fast read, and each black-and-white page is engaging in the instantly recognizable Prince style. It’s not a trans narrative, but it’s a transformative story about a girl who never felt comfortable as a girl, and eventually discovers that she’s not alone. There’s always punk, there’s always comics, there’s always something new to learn; it’s hopeful, sweet, and acutely relatable—highly recommended for fellow weirdos. –Taylor Hoffman