Book review: No Thanks: Black, Female and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone – by Keturah Kendrick

By Nina Steele 

No Thanks by Keturah KendrickKeturah Kendrick’s book is a collection of stories on the pressure black women often face for having the audacity to choose a path that does not include marriage nor children. That pressure can be relentless and requires a lot of courage, a prerequisite for authentic living.

Early on in the book, Keturah asks a question that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the book and it is: “How does an adult daughter respond to the suggestion that her life choices are tied to her mother’s happiness?” That question summarizes the weight of expectation that is often felt by women to live up to the dreams that others have for them. And more often than not, those dreams are tied to traditional values, and anything other than that is considered a failure.

As a black American woman, in addition to all the expectations of marriage and children, she is also expected to blindly subscribe to Christianity. But just like her choice to be childfree, she is also choosing to reject that aspect of her culture, not because she wants to antagonise those around her, but simply because she no longer believes in the tenets of Christian faith. This ties into the overall theme of the book, which is that, being true to oneself and living one’s true life often means a rejection of many of the values and beliefs that one was raised with.

There is plenty in the book regarding the benefits of life as a childfree and single woman. For example, the ability if one wishes, to start a new life abroad, which is exactly what Keturah did. She first worked in Kigali, Rwanda and then Shanghai, where she currently resides. Her book will definitely come in handy for anyone looking for inspiration about starting a new life somewhere else.

Overall, this is a good read. Not only does it tackle the usual accusations women face for daring to go against the grain, it also touches on other subjects including what happens when women, feeling under pressure, go on to have children they later regret having. There is also a fair bit in the book on dating for anyone looking for inspiration about either a relationship they are already in or a future one. It is a book for women (and some men), particularly those seeking to forge a different path for themselves, away from what is often termed ‘normal’.

No Thanks: Black, Female and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone – by Keturah Kendrick is now available on Amazon.

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