Book Review: Heads of the Colored People

Giving high Goodreads ratings is starting to become a habit! I decided to pick up Heads of Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires after I saw this year’s National Book Award longlist for fiction.

Established in 1950, the National Book Award is an American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

Honestly, I was embarrassed because out of the ten books that are listed, I had only read one. One! So when I found myself inside Amazon Books – their actual brick and mortar store in Century City – I picked up to of the titles: Heads of the Colored People and Florida by Lauren Groff. I decided to go with Thompson-Spires book of short stories first.


My love of short stories was deepened with these authentic, ingenious, and clever stories of black middle class. The variety of original characters and their raw and, at times, emotional stories kept me engaged from one to the next. Characters were often repeated, extending their lives from one story to the next.

My favorite (much like many other reviewers) was the “Belles Letters”, notes written back and forth between two mothers that are sent in their children’s backpacks. The hostility and passive-aggressive exchanges between these two mothers had me snorting in laughter. The letters were snarky and outrageous and not far from how mothers tend to treat one another nowadays. Another story, “The Subject of Consumption” about a family of fruitarians trying to get on a reality television show, was almost too crazy to believe. Almost. Every single story gave me something to think about. A quick read, the stories might be short but are deep and lasting.


Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Published by Atria, April 2018
Genre: Short stories
Where I read: At the mall
Stephenie’s Goodreads Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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