She's Just Not That Into You by Aryka Randall (Book Review)
Back in 2006, I read a book called He's Just Not That Into You, and it sort of changed my life. I came to terms with what was missing in my relationships, I started picking up on signs of disinterest from men, and I found a partner who loved me. We got married in 2009, and have been happy ever since. This is not a review on that book. This is a review on a book of similar title and nature (I'm assuming a play on the 2006 book).
She's Just Not That Into You is Aryka Randall's first book. She created The Fab Femme Mag in 2010, an online magazine celebrating "feminine lesbian women." From there, she added youtube content and web-series to her repertoire. I had never heard of Ms. Randall before, but after reading her book, I feel like she is a trusted friend. She wrote as if she was talking directly to me! (Well, to a younger me). Actually, Randall wrote this book with black, queer women in mind. I do not identify as queer, I have friends who do. I am excited to be able to add this perspective of black identity to Black and Bookish.
There was only one thing I wanted more of: references or resources. Two relationship topics she mentioned could have been fleshed out or referred to in greater detail. I worry that someone would expect her introductions to be the extent of the concept and refuse to do better investigating. She talked about Love Languages in such a casual way that a reader with no prior knowledge of this idea might mistake it for poetic phrasing. P.S. You should know your Love Language. You should know your significant other's Love Language. (Not a black book but you can find out more information on Love Languages here.) I loved all the hand-illustrated pages. Filled with quotes and drawings, those pages felt like notes passed in the hall by my bestie. It brought back glorious memories of the female connections I had during my tough relationship times. It was relaxing and allowed for some breaks in the deep relationship content. Even thought it was a short read, it had a lot of information.
She kept me motivated as she moved the reader almost step-by-step to happier relationship goals. She understood that you can't get to where you want to be if you don't have a strong foundation: yourself. What women need to be in successful relationships with each other is the same thing that I have to do to be successful in my relationship with my husband. It's not different- it's universal!
What I brought to this was a reminder that heteronormative individuals continue to say they have normal relationships and everything else is different. I thought that I would be reading a book they gave me more insight into queer relationships. But really, that's not what I got. Gender doesn't matter for good communication, figuring out who you are, or loving someone. Relationships with lesbian, gay, polyamorous, pansexual, transgender, or gender non-conforming people use the same tools as heterosexual relationships. What becomes an extra-added concern (or complication) are the people around them dictating what kind of relationships someone should be in. Society bombards you with correctness in terms of looks and expectations, something I experience in terms to my interracial marriage.
Don't ever allow yourself to be part of a relationship where you are not celebrated. Go where you are loved and appreciated. - Aryka Randall
Aryka Randall created a lovely and encouraging book. She carved out a space for herself and other women, providing guidance and love along the way. Whether looking for love, or recovering from loss, I would recommend this book.