“Hear the dark liquor of her laughter rippling behind her sentences” in this magnetic memoir as it explores a journalist’s obsession with pop culture and the difficulty of navigating relationships as a Black woman through fanfiction, feminism, and Southern mores (Saeed Jones). 

A Roxane Gay Audacious Bookclub November Pick
Named "Most Anticipated Books of 2021" by Buzzfeed  and Lithub

Pop culture is the Pandora’s Box of our lives. Racism, wealth, poverty, beauty, inclusion, exclusion, and hope — all of these intractable and unavoidable features course through the media we consume. Examining pop culture’s impact on her life, Nichole Perkins takes readers on a rollicking trip through the last twenty years of music, media and the internet from the perspective of one southern Black woman. She explores her experience with mental illness and how the TV series Frasier served as a crutch, how her role as mistress led her to certain internet message boards that prepared her for current day social media, and what it means to figure out desire and sexuality and Prince in a world where marriage is the only acceptable goal for women. 
Combining her sharp wit, stellar pop culture sensibility, and trademark spirited storytelling, Nichole boldly tackles the damage done to women, especially Black women, by society’s failure to confront the myths and misogyny at its heart, and her efforts to stop the various cycles that limit confidence within herself. By using her own life and loves as a unique vantage point, Nichole humorously and powerfully illuminates how to take the best pop culture has to offer and discard the harmful bits, offering a mirror into our own lives.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"In these sharp, uncompromising essays, Nichole Perkins probes the intersections between her blackness, hailing from the South, her womanhood, and her sexuality. There is an appealing self-awareness in these essay— a willingness to examine her flaws as much as her strengths. The book gets stronger and stronger and the final few essays are clarion calls to naming things as they are, claiming the power you desire, and embracing yourself unapologetically."—Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist
"Nichole’s work is necessary, urgent, and so beautiful. At turns surprising and familiar, tender and brutal, the entire collection is a love letter to the black girls we were, to the black women we are, and to the brave, new beings we are growing up to be."—Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award-winning author of Sing, Unburied, Sing
“It is not easy to be open with reflections on sexuality, intimacy, pleasure, religion, race, and class, but Nichole does so with such intellect, thoughtfulness, and levity. Sometimes I Trip On How Happy We Could Be is not only another welcomed contribution because of the sharp, funny, and focused voice Nichole Perkins brings to those issues and others, but that she brings a working class southern Black perspective that more of America needs to hear from.” —Michael Arceneaux, New York Times bestselling author of I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé and I Don’t Want To Die
"For me, the joy in reading SOMETIMES I TRIP ON HOW HAPPY WE COULD BE is in witnessing how — essay by essay, revelation by hard-won revelation — Nichole comes into awareness of her own power like a storm gaining strength just off the coast. The girl who sneaks romance novels into Sunday church services becomes the woman asking tough, keen questions about what she wants and what we all want. I hear the dark liquor of her laughter rippling behind her sentences. I hear the rich timbre of a writer who knows that vital power lives in pleasures."—Saeed Jones, award-winning author of How We Fight for Our Lives
"These essays are at once poignant, timely, and a lot of fun to read. In Sometimes I Trip On How Happy We Could Be, Nichole Perkins manages to write about Prince as brilliantly as she does her first hotmail account, and makes it look easy. This book is meant to be read in the bathtub, with good wine, and even better company on the way."
 —Ashley C. Ford, author of Somebody's Daughter
"Sometimes I Trip On How Happy We Could Be is easily one of the best books I’ve read in the last two years. Nichole Perkins is a force, and a must watch. The opening essay is as striking as the last. I laughed, I cried, and I felt seen. Like the best books are, this is a wonderful journey. I already can’t wait to read it again."
 —Keah Brown, author of The Pretty One
"[A] candid, affecting, and joyful read."—Buzzfeed
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