I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

I don’t remember how I discovered who Luvvie is, but I bought this book solely because she promotes it so much and I was curious. For someone who isn’t a comedian, I think Luvvie is hilarious. She’s very smart, she’s a great interviewer (I would definitely recommend her podcast Rants and Randomness), and her Instagram highlight of her reacting to Love Is Blind is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for a book that’ll teach you something while still being light and entertaining, I’d grab I’m Judging You. It was a much-needed break from reality during these quarantine times.

The Rundown

I’m Judging You:The Do-Better Manual is a semi-self-help book wherein Luvvie Ajayi side-eyes people for being a mess in certain areas of life and tells them how to do better. This isn’t really a memoir – she tells personal stories when they relate directly to chapter topic, but she’s not telling her life story in this book. Luvvie covers topics including body shaming, rape culture, why some businesses fail, and sex tapes. All of the topics are well-researched and her opinion is delivered in an incredibly funny and insightful way. 

Length: 238 pages

Additional Sections: Introduction and Epilogue – I’d read both. The intro is a good setup to the tone of the rest of the book, and the epilogue is really another chapter of the book that you should definitely read. 

Genre: Non-fiction/Self-help

Year Published: 2016

The Good Stuff

This book is split up into four parts: Life, Culture, Social Media, and Fame. 

I thought the Life section was so funny; the information was laid out perfectly. My favorite chapters were the ones on friendships, relationships and hygiene. I think this part was a perfect setup for the rest of the book. Luvvie uses her own slang and a couple made-up words to bring you into how she thinks, and she tells a few stories to get you laughing and invested in the book. My favorite one had to be the one where she discusses her friend who was dickmatized (adj: hypnotized by high-quality sex) couldn’t let her terrible boyfriend go. This was my second favorite section of the book, and it definitely kept my attention.

The Culture section is the longest part of the book. Luvvie tackles feminism, racism, religion, homophobia, and a few other topics. For me, this section was difficult to get through because it seemed like a repeat of many progressive talking points I’ve heard before. Mind you, this book came out 4 years ago. It is highly likely that Luvvie was one of the first people to introduce many of the ideas she presents in the book. However, reading this in 2020, I’ve heard or read opinions in line with hers many times before. There were several times throughout this section that I wanted to skip through because I thought I’ve heard this same line of reasoning before. I’m not learning anything from this. Don’t get me wrong, the opinions are good! And I’m not faulting Luvvie because I read it four years after it came out. But for me, it was slow. 

I think the best part of the Culture section was Luvvie’s discussion of religion. In the media we’re shown a very narrow view of what Christian people are like and how they behave, and I think Luvvie did a great job explaining her point of view as a life-long Christian. She worked it into the section on homophobia as well, and I thought it was very well done. I respect her for feeling comfortable enough to speak out and be proud of the way she practices her religion. 

My favorite part of the book was the social media section. I wish I could photocopy it and email it to so many people that I’ve followed on social media – most of which have been muted or unfollowed by now. SO many people use social media as an open diary for everyone to view and comment on, and it’s so frustrating to me. Social media is a tool and a place for entertainment. It’s not real, guys. If all social media shuts down tomorrow, the world will continue to function. Just because Facebook says What’s on your mind? doesn’t mean you need to share every thought that you have throughout the day. Luvvie’s commentary on the way some of us use social media was hilarious, and I would recommend the book for that section alone. 

The Fame section was good, but it was definitely the most forgettable – I had to go back and grab the book from my shelf because I forgot the name of it. In this part, Luvvie discusses the fakeness of reality TV shows, how sex tapes probably won’t make you famous, and how social media fame doesn’t equate to real-world fame. This is the shortest part of the book, and for me it wasn’t as interesting as the one before it – maybe because I couldn’t relate to it. It’s worth a skim, but this is where the book started to lose me.

What I Would Change

I wish the Life section would’ve been longer! It was so quick before it got into the very long (but good) Culture section, and I think some other topics could’ve been worked in there. Family, Work Life, and Online Dating all would’ve been so funny to read from Luvvie’s perspective. I heard she’s working on another book, so maybe she’ll get to those in the second one. 

I thought this was a great balance of funny and informative, and I liked that Luvvie was willing to judge herself at times for being part of some of the problematic groups she was describing. I found it to be a welcome funny break from the scary and sad times that we’re living in. 

Overall Rating: 9/10

Okay guys, I’m about to go on a little self-help kick. Right now I’m reading Good Vibes, Good Life, then I’ve got a mini-line up of some other self-improvement books. I hope y’all are ready. New review should be up next week. Thank you so much for coming back to read another review! I appreciate you guys so much.

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