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Redefining Realness: My Path To Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More Paperback – December 1, 2014
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“Janet Mock is a glamorous, smarty-pants writer and activist…. Her book about her life as a transwoman, Redefining Realness, isn’t just a service to the trans community but to every woman – hell, person – who has struggled with identity.” -- Lena Dunham, actress and author of Not That Kind of Girl
“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
“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
“...intelligent and educational…. Recommended for lovers of memoirs and for readers with sincere interest in the subject matter.” ― Library Journal
“A classic feminist coming-of-age story that’s worthy of your mantel. . . . Her memoir recounts a life that is both hardscrabble and hard-fought, making for a must-read book that is at turns riveting and wonderfully emotionally nuanced.” -- The Advocate
“Pardon the hyperbole, but Janet Mock may be the best person ever. . . . A beautiful, powerful memoir.” ― Rookie
“A fiery success.” ― The Atlantic
“The beauty of Mock’s memoir is that it is both personal and universal; her story is her own, but it also transcends the specificity of her life narrative to touch all of us.” ― Lambda Literary
“Redefining Realness is a rare autobiography in that it reads less like a memoir and more like a conversation with a homegirl. . . . [It] made me feel like I was on my couch with a friend sharing secrets rather than reading a carefully constructed narrative. That, I think, is a gift.” ― Crunk Feminist Collective
“Mock’s grace in handling complexity is matched by her frankness, and she talks race, class, and intersectional politics without ever sounding polemical.” ― The Rumpus
“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
“Janet Mock shares that which society tells us to keep secret . . . and uses it not only to strengthen herself, and empower other girls but also to educate.” ― For Books' Sake
“Here’s the short version of my review: go buy it and read it now. . . . Mock brings the same bravery and fierce determination that is evident in her history to the writing of the book, claiming her own story and making sure experiences that have often been used to dehumanize trans women and reduce us to our transition status instead serve to give the reader a more full and honest glimpse of her humanity.” ― Feministing
“Redefining Realness details a truly American story. Its poor heroine winning independence, success, and love through intelligence, determination, and hard work makes it timeless. Its portrait of a society grappling with issues of fragmented families, race, drug addiction, abuse, sex work, poverty, sexual orientation, and gender identity make it more timely and relevant than anyone expecting a ‘transgender memoir’ could possibly predict.” ― The Daily Dot
“A memoir that takes the coming-of-age narrative to both a higher and deeper level.” ― Slate
“It's fully intersectional, deliciously activist, wonderfully unapologetic, brazen, and beautiful. I love Mock's book because, like the best feminist reads, it’s really about the insight that telling stories can be a revolutionary act.” -- Laura Ciolkowski, Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Social Difference and Adjunct Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University
About the Author
- Publisher : Atria Books; 1st edition (December 1, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1476709130
- ISBN-13 : 978-1476709130
- Item Weight : 7.5 ounces
- Best Sellers Rank: #26,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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As a cisgender gay male, I thought Mock’s story would be foreign to me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, there were remarkable similarities. We both experienced policing of our physical appearance at a very early age. We both were estranged from our mothers, yet held tight that she’d come and rescue us. We both had no expectation of our fathers, yet held our mothers to unattainable standards we created in our own minds. Beyond how the book personally resonated with me, Redefining Realness is masterfully written prose that will speak to anyone looking to gain insight on the trans experience, or simply live in their own truth. I applaud Mock for sharing her personal narrative at the risk of judgment and ridicule. As she says, “There’s nothing more powerful than truly being and loving yourself.”
There were so many passages in here that I wanted to quote. Her writing is gorgeous and she brings up a lot of really good points. She writes about what it was like for her to be raised as if she were a boy and her gender dysphoria and body dysmorphia. She writes about sexual assault (TW!) and the ways it psychologically damaged her for years to come. She writes about sex work, and the male gaze, and how the whole framing of "passing" is harmful because it holds up cis-gendered people as this lofty ideal, while also enforcing toxic beauty standards. She also writes about coming out, self-love, and what it was like for her to get her various therapies and surgeries.
At times, this was a very difficult read because she goes to some very dark places. But juxtaposed against every painful section is a friend or group of friends who supported her or a passage of self-affirmation about how she likes who she is. I also thought it was interesting about how she wrote on privilege, and underscored how no woman (trans- or otherwise)'s experience is going to be the same. Many things for her were difficult, but as someone who is conventionally attractive and had a family who mostly (with mixed success) supported her transition, she automatically has certain advantages that made her situation easier than someone who is not as conventionally attractive, doesn't fit the Western gender norms for what is considered feminine, and doesn't have familial support.
I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a solid memoir that deals with important subjects pertaining to feminism, trans issues, coming of age, and womanhood in a fresh and engaging way. Less topically but perhaps most endearingly, I kind of fell in love with all of the early 2000s cultural references. Destiny's Child, perfumed lotion, Lipsmackers, TRL. My childhood.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Hitherto, young people generally hid their differences. If someone was known to be different, usually, they were in the minority. In the eighties HIV became widespread. The media focused on homosexual relationship and society was shocked to see how prevalent this was. Moreover, the early nineties more persons with atypical sexual identities have come out of the closet. In the Mid-nineties the term "Down Low" was used to identify bi-sexual or homo-sexual. Since then, society has seen an explosion of LBGHQT, groups all across the country marching, politicizing, lobbying legislatures, having large parades across the country; indeed, the world.
It is within these parameters, Janet Mocks book addresses her personal saga in bringing profound insight into this sensitive subject with poignant truth telling that in my view is a easy read and scholarly, in that it opens up serious study for academics to revisit and perhaps consider broadening medically how we look at Gender Identity in society. And, should we find a path in our laws and Social Contract for the vast and growing LBGHQT citizens population to protect their rights and existence since they have arrived.
Top reviews from other countries
Thank you for such a wonderful book Janet!