Books

Best White and Other Anxious Delusions by Rebecca Davis

July 5, 2015

Best White and Other Anxious Delusions

Rebecca Davis is a South African journalist who has written for various publications, and is known for her witty coverage of the Oscar Trial. When the trial began I first followed Rebecca, Barry Bateman and various other journalists on Twitter. After a while I decided I was too heavily invested in the trial and unfollowed her and the rest of the journalists. This did not last long as I soon followed Rebecca and Barry again, but not the others. Barry provided minute by minute coverage, but Rebecca’s tweets and daily articles were by far the most interesting.

When she announced that she will be releasing a book, Best White and Other Anxious Delusions I knew I had to get a copy. As soon as it was released I went around to various book stores in Port Elizbeth and none of them had a copy (shame on them). A week or two later I was about to order a copy on line, when I found one by chance in CNA. Although I have loved reading from a young age, I never paid full price for books. I always got them via the library, on sale or second hand at markets. Also for the most part I only download free or discounted Kindle books. So at R249.99, Best White is the first book (with the exception of text books and books that I had to buy for university) that I paid full price for. That is how excited I was to get a copy. Now onto the review.

Best White is a collection of essays, wherein Rebecca masterful covers a variety of topics, including issues such as the future of reading, women’s struggles, race relations and Africa’s cultural history. Rebecca’s writing has a witty style and the tone varies from essay to essay, but one thing remains consistent, she never becomes preachy. Between fits of laughter, I found myself nodding in agreement to many of her statements.

As some of the essays are autobiographical, we get to learn more about Rebecca. She relates that she worked as a packer in a fruit factory and what I found very interesting, the time she worked as a pseudo member of a dating website. In the entertaining essay ‘A Royal Encounter’, she writes about the time she was invited to a party at Buckingham Palace, where she met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, before proceeding to get royally wasted. Way to go Rebecca.

I would describe each essay as bite-sized. They were quick to read, which I found really convenient, as these days I don’t have long periods of time to read. I enjoyed being able to finish an essay in less than 15 minutes. Some of my favourite essays are ‘Women, Fire and Dangerous Things’, ‘Don’ts for wives’ and ‘Desperately seeking Mandela’.

Naturally I gushed to everyone who would listen about how amazing this book is, but after one session of discussing it with a co-worker I stopped. The thing is, she wanted to borrow my copy after I finished reading it. I do realise that this is incredibly selfish of me, but I don’t want to borrow my copy to anyone. You see, I can be very obsessive when it comes to my books, particularly books that I enjoy. If anyone had to look at my bookshelf, they would think that I had not read this book. There’s no creases in the spine, no dog ears or stains. It still looks brand new. Through experience, I know that other people do not share my obsession with keeping my books neat.

I give Best White five out or five stars. Support Rebecca and our local industry by buying a copy.

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