- Hardcover: 231 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (January 21, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374237573
- ISBN-13: 978-0374237578
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 57 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,681,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Project Girl Hardcover – January 21, 1999
Garth Brooks: The Anthology Part 1 | Limited Edition
A great gift for country music fans, The Anthology Part 1 includes CDs containing the music of Garth's first five years, and behind-the-scenes photographs and stories never before made public. Learn more
From Publishers Weekly
This rather unstructured memoir certainly contains high drama, but it doesn't quite succeed in illuminating the larger social issues?race, class, education, identity?to which it implicitly points. McDonald, the gifted child of an "old-fashioned" black family (hardworking father, tireless at-home mom) living in a Brooklyn housing project, was a "nerd" in the projects but an alienated "project girl" in the more privileged world to which her academic achievement earned her entry. She made it to Vassar in the early 1970s only to become a heroin user, but righted herself (especially during a junior year abroad in Paris) in time to enter law school. She was shattered again when she was raped, after which she expressed her rage by setting fires in her law school dorm. She returned to school and now practices law in her beloved Paris. However gripping and potentially instructive this mix of harrowing and inspirational facts are, the telling is awkward. While McDonald portrays her post-rape torment with graphic intensity, her self-analysis?especially of her heroin problem?are shallow. Her writing is fluid?so fluid that it's shame that she relies on so many previously written journal excerpts that chronicle not only her progress at work but also her mood swings, off-the-cuff remarks ("We may have a woman Vice-President!") and ideological natterings unbuttressed by thoughtful argument ("America's corporate structure... is responsible for each and every individual moment of suffering"). Despite these flaws, readers will find in these pages a spirited challenge to the idea that upward mobility is easy or comes without a heavy psychological cost.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Now practicing law in Paris, McDonald was raised in the projects of Brooklyn, NY, in the midst of poverty, drug abuse, and violence. This is the wrenching story of her escape from that life to Vassar, Columbia, and then to NYU Law School and the personal crises she surmounted along the way.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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Even if you have no connection with public housing, this book gives a wonderful overview of the public housing system as well as of the public school system during the early days of the civil rights movement. Whereas Janet took advantage of all her ivy-league school offers, I sat with a dresser drawer full of "full rides" to the same schools, but being a bit more "militant" at the time, refused to go. C'est la vie!
Janet gives `us' her crisis, and this is using the term mildly, to show how she floundered coming from a mentor-less environment trying to connect with that misty powdery term called success. No disrespect to her parents, I understand them tremendously... doing the best they could with what had been handed down, but tossing out advice such as `study hard to get a "good" job and make "good" money,' is `telling' information that (& I'ma have to say it) is not only unhelpful, but capable of circumventing a lot of pain for a young person like Janet reaching... but reaching for what? ' Her father (who sways her most) couldn't show her. He could only tell her... which to this end some might say others have made it 'out' on this advice with far fewer problems than Janet, but I say we all don't heal the same way.
This is where I have to give it to Janet's mother (still with a great respect for her father), but it warmed my heart when I got to the part when Janet tells her mother, "I'm sorry. I feel like I let the family down," to hear her mother turn around and say, "maybe the family let you down." Very touching, albeit, I waited before prematurely applauding, which a lengthy review shortened (there honestly is so much in here)... but in her mother I saw a gem, and Janet (like others who've paved a way their way) is a trailblazer for those in her family coming behind her! Great Work!
Parents often sabotage their children's lives, even with the best of intentions. McDonald's otherwise supportive and loving parents refused to give her money for subway fare so that she could keep an appointment with a school that promised to get her life back on track and prepare her for college. Had she not jumped the subway turnstile that day, we probably wouldn't be reading her autobiography.
Or conversely, how life can so easily end up going the other way. If she'd been stopped by NY's transit police, she could have been arrested, never made it to the interview, and ended up living a life of crime. Without that school interview, and the two years of college prep that followed, she would have never had any of the positive opportunities in life that were later opened up to her.