Author: Tea Mutonji
Publication Date: June 8, 2020
Shut Up You’re Pretty by Tea Mutonji is a very good book that discusses a lot of important issues.
Shut Up You’re Pretty is a collection of stories about a Congolese girl and her family that immigrate to Canada and goes through her becoming a woman. The description makes it sound like Shut Up You’re Pretty is about different women. However, it is actually all about the same person from girlhood to becoming a woman.
Shut Up You’re Pretty starts with Loli having a buzz cut. She came to Canada with a male passport so had to shave her head. When she meets her best friend, Joli, Joli asks if she is a boy or a girl. This sets the stage for the gender issues and sexual identity that comes up many times in Shut Up You’re Pretty. This short series collection really demonstrates feminism and the importance of feminism. Shut Up You’re Pretty has multiple forms of sexual experimentation and sex workers. Teen pregnancy is also represented.
Shut Up You’re Pretty discusses many important issues. Shut Up You’re Pretty discusses race issues with the main character being a poor black woman. Loli and her family are also immigrants which brings its own difficulties.
Shut Up You’re Pretty also contains drug use, depression, and suicide. Shut Up You’re Pretty contains characters with eating disorders.
I’m sure you can tell from my description so far that this is an intense book. So many difficult topics were discussed, but Mutonji did a fantastic job expresses the issues in a way that didn’t downplay the issue but also didn’t make it difficult to read being overly descriptive. I am so glad I read Shut Up You’re Pretty. I felt like I really got a look into a life that is completely different than mine even though it’s a fictional story.
From the beginning of the story I really liked Loli and wanted her to have a good life and be happy. Of course this made parts of the story more difficult to read. I also loved her interactions with Joli and how their relationship changed over the years. Their relationship was very realistic. I felt like everything about this book which was my favorite part. I can’t believe this was Mutonji’s debut story collection and can’t wait to read more of her work in the future.
I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it. I thought Jemeni did a great job narrating and really set the tone for the story.
I really enjoyed Shut Up You’re Pretty. I recommend it to fans of Brit Bennett and fans of Red at the Bone because they made me feel the same. I would not recommend this to anyone that is triggered or uncomfortable with drugs, teen pregnancy, eating disorders, depression, and sexual exploration.
Thank you NetGalley and Bespeak Audio Editions for Shut Up You’re Pretty.
About the Author
Born in Congo-Kinshasa, TÉA MUTONJI is a poet and fiction writer. Her debut collection, Shut Up You’re Pretty, is the first title from Vivek Shraya’s imprint, VS. Books. It was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award and the Trillium Book Award. Mutonji lives and writes in Toronto.