Book Reviews

Review: Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen

We love random library finds. I can’t even remember how I saw Black Girls Must Die Exhausted, but all of a sudden I was falling into this story about family and success. I didn’t even plan on reading it so quickly, but I wanted to find out what happened to Tabby and the lives of her friends. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Tabitha Walker is a black woman with a plan to “have it all.”  At 33 years old, the checklist for the life of her dreams is well underway. Education? Check. Good job? Check. Down payment for a nice house? Check. Dating marriage material? Check, check, and check. With a coveted position as a local news reporter, a “paper-perfect” boyfriend, and even a standing Saturday morning appointment with a reliable hairstylist, everything seems to be falling into place.

Then Tabby receives an unexpected diagnosis that brings her picture-perfect life crashing down, jeopardizing the keystone she took for granted: having children. With her dreams at risk of falling through the cracks of her checklist, suddenly she is faced with an impossible choice between her career, her dream home, and a family of her own.

With the help of her best friends, the irreverent and headstrong Laila and Alexis, the mom jeans-wearing former “Sexy Lexi,” and the generational wisdom of her grandmother and the nonagenarian firebrand Ms. Gretchen, Tabby explores the reaches of modern medicine and tests the limits of her relationships, hoping to salvage the future she always dreamed of. But the fight is all consuming, demanding a steep price that forces an honest reckoning for nearly everyone in her life. As Tabby soon learns, her grandmother’s age-old adage just might still be true: Black girls must die exhausted.


First off, finding out your eggs are expiring way sooner than expected? That’s probably one of my biggest fears and especially if this is kicked off by stress then I have no chance. Black Girls Must Die Exhausted begins with a police stopping, which merely cements one of the themes in this book of the effects of racism. The psychological costs of being afraid to be stopped while driving, of the pressures in the workplace, of the micro aggressions while dating. As a woman of color, I can definitely relate to this idea that I certainly have more stress because of my ethnicity that others in my life.

Racism – the insidious comments and the systematic oppression – is just one theme explored in Black Girls Must Die Exhausted. It also, based on the subject matter, definitely explores the lack of medical coverage for women and the ways that only certain women will have easy access to the finances for these procedures. How this may be an insurmountable barrier to some women. The ways that these stresses and burdens fall on them. For Laila, a storm within her life is brewing.


She has to figure out, before she was planning to, what the trajectory of her life could be. What it’ worth to us when we have nothing and everything. Black Girls Must Die Exhausted is also about the lives of her friends, the pressures of their relationships, and the necessity of support systems. It’s a book that manages to discuss the racism that women in careers face, the pressures of the choice of motherhood, and the weight of our own dreams.

It’s definitely worth reading for those who enjoy contemporary adult fiction and stories about women shaping their own futures and navigating family. Find Black Girls Must Die Exhausted on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite adult fiction read?

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