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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More Paperback – December 2, 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")
“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
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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She shares what it is to live daily in a body you do not believe nor accept as your truth spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and physically. Ms. Mock does not paint herself as some tragic heroine but as an individual who knows who she is, was born to be and she sets out to realize her truth. This is a book based on Ms. Mock's experiences and perceptions. Who can better tell ones story than the person who has and is living it? I looked forward to reading Redefining Realness and Ms. Mock has not disappointed. I appreciate her time, care and scholarship.
This is not a book fueled by tantalizing sensationalism and tidbits. This is a text written by a woman whose purpose is to enlighten those reading it. Ms. Mock has succeeded.
Janet Mock shares the politics and criminalization surrounding transsexual sex workers. In doing so we see the human being not some societal fantasy imagined and draped in judgement, racism and prejudice. She also shares perceptions of societie's heterosexual hierarchy. The belief that transsexuals specifically trans women are not full women or are less than, providing statistical data of harassment, assaults and deaths of trans women. Trans women of color being the major targets and victims of these threats, assaults and deaths.
For clarity purposes, heterosexual women are not enemies of trans women and vice-versa.This is not and never has been a competition. Women whether lesbian, heterosexual, queer or trans are in a united fight for equality, and it's crucial all women remain supportive of each other, especially women of color. Why? Because women of color specifically Black women remain the media and societal targets of misogynists. Males believing erroneously that Black women and women of color are easy targets and will not respond to their misogyny.
Janet Mock, is of mixed parentage and proud of her heritage and a woman who is comfortable in her own skin. While, she has been embraced by many communities, it is the Black community who has and continues to champion her. Blacks have embraced her as a symbol of advocacy for equality, human and civil rights. In conclusion, Redefining Realness is a map of Ms. Mock's life. A striving to live authentically defining her truth. It is this knowledge and her resulting life perceptions and insights which are enlightening.
©Lorraine Currelley 2014. All Rights Reserved.
This autobiography follows Janet from her youth to her young adulthood, through her
transition and her coming of age. My book group read it and we all really enjoyed it.
As someone who doesn't have any close trans friends, this was a great insight into
one individual's journey. She also gets into the different issues of being a person of color,
and being a trans person who can "pass" for a cis female, and how trans people are judged
by how "pretty" they are and how much they fit into society's idea of what a woman should
look like. Very educational and a pleasure to read.
Her brilliance and determination is evident on the page and while she seems to stand apart from many of the Trans women of color who are inspired by her, (Mock was an Editor at People Magazine, and attended NYU) her coming of age story has the street credibility to let us know that she is one of us.
The book is definitely a page turner, told straight from the heart, and likely the first of this genre by a Trans woman of color to go mainstream. Of course her beauty is a factor, her gender identity potentially read as salacious, but it was the power and strength of the writing that held my attention. You can just recognize when the truth is being told.
I applaud Mock for her genuine praise and recognition of the Trans women of color who paved much of the way for the gains we are witnessing in the TLBG community and Trans community specifically. She lifts up Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Mock's overall message in her first book is that telling our own stories is an imperative and that loving yourself as a Trans woman of color is a revolutionary act. Thank you Janet for this important story.