Review: The Good Immigrant – edited by Nikesh Shukla

The good immigrant
Book cover: A black and white horizontally-striped border, with the title: The Good Immigrant on the top. The authors’ name are in orange.

The Good Immigrant is a collection of 21 short stories by different people of colour from the UK. I decided to read it because I thought it would be interesting to see how other POC feel in a majority-white country.

This book is #ownvoices.

Let’s talk about the title. It’s great and sarcastic. For me, it symbolizes how so many POC try to be the good immigrant in countries with a white majority. No matter how good an immigrant we are, we are still not good enough. 

I enjoyed reading this book, mainly because I could identify with several of the stories and I realised that I’m not alone. I am told so often that I must be misinterpreting events or actions, and to see that other people have similar experiences, validates mine and makes me feel more sure of myself.

The different stories are each written in a different style. Some of them are personal stories, others discuss a more general topic. The authors are not all the same ethnicity, religion or gender. I thought the variety made it clear that people of colour are not a monolith.

I was really surprised by the ending of the last story, as the author decides to move to Berlin. I’m moving to Scotland in September to try my luck there with a new direction and new study course, so this story resonated with me a lot!

The only problematic aspect were some comparisons to mental illnesses that I found inappropriate.

I enjoyed The Good Immigrant, especially the opportunity to read about experiences similar to mine. It’s a great book that could be used as a resource to illustrate how oppression and privilege work in the world nowadays. Thus I’d recommend it to teachers and think that it would be an educational addition to the curriculum. Personally, I wish that we had a similar anthology here in Germany.

4 stars

Have you read The Good Immigrant? How do you feel about anthologies that focus on this theme? Do you have any recommnedations?

16 thoughts on “Review: The Good Immigrant – edited by Nikesh Shukla

  1. Great review! I’ve seen this anthology around and have been meaning to take a look .


  2. I always thought Germany was more accepting of immigrants and POC than other countries. People I know who live there seem to love the place. I’m glad you enjoyed this book. I’m curious about those mental illness comparisons you mentioned? Could you elaborate?


    1. I think Germany likes to act like they are more accepting, and while they are more like to tolerate non-white people and immigrants in their country, they still have a long way to go to acceptance.

      Words like depressing, barmy, maniacal, crazy and crazytown were used.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my. Hmmm. I’ll have to browse before I pick this one up then. Thanks for letting me know!


  3. This sounds like an interesting anthology. Did it address regional differences? In the US, while no place is perfect, there are some places that are more accepting of newcomers and people of different backgrounds than others.


    1. Not that I can recall, but the UK is also much smaller than the US so I have no idea if the regional difference are as big there. I know that London is much more accepting than the surrounding area though.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s