“The Last Black Unicorn” by Tiffany Haddish is the rising comedienne’s memoir that she tells in her playful tone on audiobook, but the simplicity in the writing and the lack of a sequence slightly diminish the lessons she wants the reader to take away from her story.
Growing up in South LA, Tiffany is the oldest of several siblings (they’re not really present in this memoir) and bounces between her grandmother’s home and foster homes after her mother suffers a traumatic brain injury that leads to mental illness. She doesn’t know where her father is most of her life until an ex-cop helps her find him. She eventually marries that ex-cop, who in her words becomes abusive and controlling with trying to take her away from her budding comedy career. She realizes that she felt safer dating an ex-cop because she never trusted her stepfather. When she was a teenager, Tiffany alleges her stepfather implied he was responsible for her mother’s brain injury that derailed Tiffany’s life and the lives of her siblings. Once she breaks ties with her ex-husband to stop the history of bad relationships, her career flourishes with her starring role in “Girls Trip” that carries her to stardom.
The chapters feel disorganized. The summary above seems more of a fleshed-out sequence than her book. There are rough periods in her life that readers can learn from, but they’re told in her comedic voice without the strong vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure. The words didn’t hold as much strength as they could have. But it was interesting to see her comedic journey from being the class clown in school to copy other students’ work because she was illiterate until age 15 to becoming a nationally known bar mitzvah hype woman to performing in SoCal casinos and comedy clubs. She definitely highlights the ups and downs in the competitive world of entertainment and how she had found her calling at a young age (she attended comedy camp in high school where she met Richard Pryor) but strayed from the path due to toxic relationships. Again, these are the lessons that are glowing from the book, but they’re in pieces weaved into different chapters.
Overall, it’s nice that Tiffany voiced her own story on audiobook, but the writing and editing could’ve been better. It’s a memoir told in a very conversational tone, and some people like that and some like me don’t care for it.