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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More [Kindle Edition]

Janet Mock
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc


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Book Description


In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.

Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.

Editorial Reviews


“Courageous! Told with a spirit of raw honesty that moves beyond confession to redemptive revelation, this book is a life map for transformation—for changing minds. A heart-rending autobiography of love, longing, and fulfillment.” (bell hooks, feminist, social activist, and author of All About Love)

“Redefining Realness is a classic American autobiography. Like Richard Wright and Maya Angelou, Janet Mock brings us into a world we may not know and with breathtaking insight, courage, and masterful craft makes her story universal.” (Barbara Smith, author of the Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom, co-founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press)

"Janet Mock’s groundbreaking book is testimony to the remarkable progress trans people have achieved over the last decade-- and shines a bright light on the work that still needs to be done. Mock’s clear, lucid prose will open hearts and minds, and further the goals of equality and justice--not just for trans people, but for everyone. Redefining Realness is loving, searing, and true." (Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Stuck in the Middle With You)

“Redefining Realness is a riveting, emotional, crisply written testimony. I couldn't put it down. I aspire to be as unflinchingly brave! Janet Mock's story simultaneously embodies, complicates, and subverts the concept of American exceptionalism and self-creation.” (Laverne Cox, actress, advocate, and star of Orange Is the New Black)

“Defining oneself is a revolutionary act, and, as described in her memoir, Janet Mock fiercely fought to free herself with exquisite bravery and sensitivity. Redefining Realness is full of hope, dreams, and determination. It is a true American girl story.” (Michaela angela Davis, Image Activist/Writer/CNN Contributor)

“Every Cinderella story has its problematic step-parents to maneuver around, and its metaphorical fireplaces to clean, before the heroine is whisked off to the ball. Janet Mock’s is no exception. But the real magic here is not of the fairy-tale kind. Redefining Realness overflows with the everyday magic of survival and resiliency in low income communities of color, of loving kindness bursting through the cracks of a hard reality, and of the life-sustaining bonds of family, friendships, and a powerful trans sisterhood.” (Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History and Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of the Institute for LGBT, University of Arizona)

"Janet Mock's honest and sometimes searing journey is a rare and important look into la vida liminal, one that she manages to negotiate remarkably well, with grace, humor, and fierce grit. Mock doesn't only redefine what realness means to her, but challenges us to rethink our own perceptions of gender and sexuality, feminism and sisterhood, making this book a transcendent piece of American literature." (Raquel Cepeda, author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina)

“An eye-opening and unapologetic story that is much greater than mere disclosure.... An enlightening, much-needed perspective on transgender identity.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Mock defies the historically apolitical confines of the transgender memoir, and draws bright lines connecting her experiences to the larger realm of social justice, with a keen political eye that uses her individual experience to elucidate the wider condition of trans women of color in the U.S. Her vivid prose arouses every sense.... Although the book is ostensibly one woman’s coming-of-age story, Mock fulfills grander purposes here; in coming to terms with her own difficult journey she also uses that experience didactically, as if to take the uninitiated, non-transgender reader with her, most certainly achieving 'realness.'” (Publishers Weekly)

“A memoir that takes the coming-of-age narrative to both a higher and deeper level.... Mock juxtaposes the personal and the political with a dose of academic theory and pop culture, honestly detailing both the joys and difficulties of her journey.” (

About the Author

Janet Mock is a writer and advocate, lauded by the Anti-Violence Project, the Center for American Progress, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, she has an MA in journalism from New York University, worked as an editor at, and appeared in HBO’s The Out List. Find out more at

Product Details

  • File Size: 1409 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (February 4, 2014)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,339 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Janet Mock weaves her personal history and the political landscape of trans livelihood in a way that is relatable and deeply intellectual in her powerful memoir. While you read, you hear her voice, feel her vulnerability and can't help but see yourself in her struggle - the universal struggle - of becoming the person you know you are meant to be. I read her words and felt hope, disappointment, pain, elation, dread and so many other emotions because you want her to succeed in LIFE & LOVE. Her resilience makes you stronger; it made me braver and a believer in one's self determination. Read this book!
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I first learned of Janet Mock via Twitter and was immediately drawn to her ability to discuss incredibly complex and personal issues with ease and elegance. If you are equally in awe of Janet's tweets... just wait until you read her book!

From gender to race, sexual orientation to sex, and identity to disclosure; Janet shares thoughts on a myriad of topics as we follow along her personal journey to womanhood.

As a cisgender queer male, I found myself both relating to aspects of Janet's journey and questioning my own assumptions about others experiences. But most importantly, to me, was how Redefining Realness has inspired me to be more authentic.

Thank you, Janet, for sharing your stories and your strength. You are an inspiration for us all.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This review is my way of shouting BUY THIS BOOK. February 5, 2014
By srsable
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are books that have made their way into my life that immediately become one of my favorites. This is, fortunately, one of those books. Once a book reaches that status in my heart, it becomes something that I can't stop talking about. That has happened here. Ask my loved ones and friends! Part of the process for me, is that this book made me feel good. It made me feel smart and it made me feel connected, like part of something larger than me and in feeling all of that, I want to share it with people I love. So I tell them, so they can feel smart and good and like part of something too. This review is my way of shouting BUY THIS BOOK. Buy it for yourself, for your friends and family, for your local library. If you are a person, a lover of books, an activists/advocates for social justice and a general knowledge seeker; if you desire to know more about the lives lived by trans people, those courageous and generous enough to share their stories with us, buy this book, today!!!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unflinching and authentic memoir February 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Janet Mock tells all of her story. Her triumphs, joys, and shame receive the same regard for the truth. Absolutely a must read.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended February 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I've been a fan of Janet Mock's writing for a very long time and was really excited when I found out she was planning on writing a book about her life experiences. Being a cis-gendered woman, her story has really opened my eyes to the issues many Trans-women, particular those of Colour, go through in their lives. The book was funny, charming, heartbreaking and most importantly gave a perspective that is rarely given a voice. I highly recommend this book!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
It was 2011 when Janet Mock, editor of, came out as transgender in Marie Claire magazine. In just over 2000 words she went from being a respected editor to an influential spokesperson for the transgender community. Since then, she’s gone on to put a positive, professional face on transgender issues, appearing in the pages of everything from London Times Magazine to The Telegraph, and on such television shows as Huffington Post Live to MSNBC.

Of course, despite what seems like an overnight success, Janet’s life was not so different from any other trans woman, looking to cope with the struggle of her own identity. She talks about growing up in a world where being trans was not something you took pride in, or even talked about with anybody outside your immediate family. It was a world of dehumanizing depictions found in popular culture, usually played for laughs, for shock value, or trashy titillation.

Her story has all the hallmarks of the trans experience. She recalls being caught and scolded for wearing a dress at the age of thirteen. She remembers telling her mother that she was gay, unable at that age to separate gender identity from sexuality. With no concept of a trans identity, the idea of a thirteen year old boy becoming a girl was nothing more than a fantasy. Somehow, she still managed to express that fantasy with Wendi, who was the first to do her eyebrows and makeup, and who continues to serve as her makeup artist today.

Janet was fifteen when she told her family that she wanted to be called Janet, following that up by declaring to her teachers and classmates at school that ‘she’ was to be called ‘Janet’ and ‘she’ would be wearing dresses to class.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unapologetic account of being who you truly are February 6, 2014
By monster
Janet Mock has grown to be a mainstream voice for the often silenced and misunderstood trans community. In this, the first trans memoir by a young person, Janet gives us the play by play of the experiences and relationships that informed her voice and identity as a woman, a person of color, and a trans person. The details of her experiences - the good, the bad, and the wow! - are all in there, even when you know it had to hurt to put it on a page. Janet's unflinching account of her life in her own words is beautiful, fierce, and gives background on the advocate you see on TV. It's a page turner! Your February read has arrived!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Janet's new autobiography is so good!!!!
This book was so good!!! I couldn't put it down. Janet was so revealing . .it was unbelievable how much information should provided in expressing the negative and positive aspects... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Flowerbug
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Recommend
Very beautiful and powerful writing style, weaving within her narrative the likes of Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Beyonce, and Toni Morrison, etc! Highly recommend!!
Published 17 days ago by Gerardo Romo
5.0 out of 5 stars Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much...
A badly needed narrative of a transperson of colorʻs experience. I think that this book can be an affirming story of success and hope for any transperson, but because Ms. Read more
Published 19 days ago by kat
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a really Important Book.
This book was great and touched on so many important issues that mainstream media wants to ignore and which are some of the most important faced by the transgender population-... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Jared TWG
5.0 out of 5 stars Proud to be me! Live life for you...
I'm in transition myself, and enjoyed reading this. Thank you! Be proud of who you are ladies. :) Be yourself. ..
Published 29 days ago by J. C. Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Vital Reading
Janet Mock provides one of the clearest and most articulate of a trans person's journey in modern memory. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ben Y.
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm already anticipating the sequel
This book redefines the 'coming of age' genre. Janet Mock's 'coming of identity' is engaging, moving, frank, and educational. Read more
Published 1 month ago by G J Treharne
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Great read. Moving and touching story - I learned a lot about trans people which is surprising considering I have a transgender family member and I am a college professor... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dr mommy
5.0 out of 5 stars A memoir to remember
This book was a tough read, as ms. Mock has not had an easy life and it would be easy to mistake this book for just another story of a disadvantaged person overcoming adversity,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jane Mayhew
5.0 out of 5 stars Janet Mock is a Godsend
I laughed.

I cried.

I finished it only to start it over again.

This book is a companion for me for the rest of my life.
Published 1 month ago by MR
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More About the Author

Janet Mock is a writer, advocate and author of "Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More." In 2011, Janet publicly proclaimed her identity as a trans woman and focused her efforts on speaking about the struggles, triumphs and portrayals of girls and women like herself. In 2012, she launched the social media project #GirlsLikeUs, a movement that encourages trans women to live visibly.

Janet was profiled in the HBO documentary "The Out List" and contributes to MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry show. She is a board member at the Arcus Foundation and has been recognized by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the Anti-Violence Project, and the Center for American Progress. A native of Honolulu, Janet attended the University of Hawaii, earned her MA in journalism from NYU, and worked as an editor at

She resides in NYC. Tweet her @janetmock.

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