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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More Hardcover – February 4, 2014
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“Far too many assume that Janet Mock's story is primarily about her body. This book is irrefutable evidence that Janet must be understood through her intellect, spirit, and wit. Janet does what only great writers of autobiography accomplish—she tells a story of the self, which turns out to be a reflection of all humanity. You will be changed by this book.” (Melissa Harris-Perry, Wake Forest University Professor and host of MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry")
“A fiery success.” (The Atlantic)
“Mock’s compelling memoir entrancingly chronicles the story of a multiracial trans woman’s becoming within a society that is still widely antagonistic to the non-White, non-male, transgender, and economically challenged among us. . . . Mock has written herself into herstory. And she has done so with clarity and poetic brilliance.” (The Feminist Wire)
“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)
“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)
About the Author
Janet Mock is a writer, TV host, and advocate tackling stigma through storytelling. With a Master’s in journalism from New York University, the Honolulu native began her career as an editor at People.com and went on to write cover stories for Marie Claire, Interview, and The Advocate as well as essays for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Lenny. She produced HBO’s The Trans List, hosts the podcast Never Before, and serves as a columnist for Allure. Called a “fearless new voice” and “trailblazing leader” who “changed my way of thinking” by Oprah Winfrey, Janet was a featured speaker at the historic Women’s March on Washington. She is the author of Surpassing Certainty and the New York Times bestseller Redefining Realness. Find out more at JanetMock.com.
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This is how I felt while reading "Redefining Realness" - even before completing the first chapter. With my excitement level on "high", I wanted to immediately hightail it to someone's book club and talk about what I had just read!
This book is awesome. Janet Mock takes readers on the journey of her life as a trans woman of color - a journey that was as foreign to me as a map of the streets of Djibouti City. I honestly did not realize that the lives of transgender people were that intense (especially poor trans people of color). Thanks to media portrayals of trans men and women over the years, I likened them to "drag queens" and reduced their lives to simply being "people who like to play dress-up." To me, a person was either gay, lesbian, or straight. Nothing else. However, Mock's experience, passion, rawness, statistics, and transparency, taught me that the world does not fit neatly into compartments.
"Redefining Realness" evoked thought, compassion, and awareness - everything I expected based on the title of the book, as well as the publicity which has surrounded it over the last few months. I thoroughly enjoyed Mock's storytelling (story within a story), particularly the imagery she used to tell her story. Much like her "shero" Zora Neale Hurston, Mock's descriptive writing engaged all of the standard senses and more. I felt the winds and humidity of Oahu. I saw Charles, Sr.'s gold tooth with the Cowboys' shout-out. I touched Keisha's hair right along with Jamie. I heard conversations in Hawaiian pidgen on the streets as Janet and Wendi pooched. I tasted grandma's gumbo while eavesdropping on family gossip. (The pop music references sprinkled throughout the book made it even more "real" for me because I remember where I was when all of those songs debuted!)
On top of all of this, Mock made me laugh. Her quick wit provided a much-welcomed intermission from a stressful and, at times, unbelievable read. It was good to laugh to keep from crying. However, even in comedy, she managed to teach lessons. I'll never confuse a "drag queen" for a trans woman again because I now know "a drag queen is part-time for showtime. A trans woman is all the time." Love it!
"Redefining Realness" is a masterpiece, not only because of the content, but because of Mock's incredible writing skills. I appreciate her for using her unique story to inform, chastise, correct, and commend. That's what real women do.
I look forward to more work from Mock in any genre.
If you've been in radical anti-racist/abolitionist trans spaces for over a decade, there's probably not a lot *new* in the analysis, but if you haven't there probably is--and regardless it's all solid. OTOH for me there was something really healing in hearing her talk about personal experiences that often get left out of political discussions.
Also: her narration is great.
You took the reins, Janet, please hold tight -- your Sisters and Brothers need you.