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Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life Paperback – January 15, 1999

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Feminist scholar bell hooks (Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism) has long raised uncomfortable questions about race, gender, and class. Wounds of Passion explores her long-term, sexually open relationship with Mack, a fellow poet she met as an undergraduate at age 19. Some years older and working toward his Ph.D., Mack, an urbane, physically striking black man, slips through the shoals of racial enmity in American academia while hooks slams up against them with passion and fury. "I talk about being black, curse, talk loudly, speak bluntly," she says, frustrated, but not surprised that this dooms her initial attempts to get a graduate degree. It baffles those who set and follow rules, too, starting with her father, who repeatedly tried to break her spirit as a child. Bearing witness to the wounds of past and present, hooks shuttles between straight narration and sometimes precious third-person observations. Raw and mean, hot and sugary, her feelings spill onto and stain the page. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this sequel to Bone Black (LJ 9/15/96), hooks (English, CUNY) reveals her passion for poetry, feminism, and the man with whom she spent 15 bittersweet years of her life. She returns to her painful childhood, to the oppressive South, to her abusive father, and then moves on to a relationship with someone who shares her intense desire for writing and sexual enjoyment. She continues her quest for love and acceptance, finding some semblance of peace and stability with this constant companion, but whom she eventually leaves. As in her previous book, hooks moves from first to third person, allowing the reader to eavesdrop on her innermost thoughts, hear of her bisexuality, and witness her fling with white men. An exceptionally written memoir; strongly recommended for poetry aficionados and feminist collections.?Ann Burns, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Wounds of Passion (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805057226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805057225
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #447,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Wounds of Passion by bell hooks is an autobiography that explains the struggles of a very independent-nonconforming-feminist-black-woman-writer from the South struggling through a difficult childhood then later trying to adapt to the "foreignness" of the academic world of California. Just like hooks, this book is not easily placed into a clearly defined category. It could be at home among works of women's studies, feminism, African-American studies, cultural criticism, or autobiographies, just to name a few. This book is not merely a memoir of bell hooks' writing life. It presents several strong statements about American society and how difficult it is (even down to the family level) to be independent and to challenge the status quo. She calls the reader to bear witness to her pain and struggles throughout her life as a black female writer.
Two intertwining voices throughout the book make it a very interesting and unique narrative. As one voice is telling the story through time as the events are happening, another voice is looking back at these events as a third person in the here-and-now. This gives a reader more than the normal single-perspective and brings the reader a little closer to the story she's telling.
One of the many statements hooks makes with Wounds of Passion is blackness does not have a universal truth. This is exemplified by the following quote explaining the fundamental differences between her and her boyfriend Mack (who was born and raised in California) throughout their long, rocky relationship. Hooks explains, "He does not feel the pain of Jim Crow. Shared black skin does not draw them closer. Her kinda blackness is strange to him. His kinda blackness I've heard about but find it hard to believe" (52).
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Format: Paperback
I have read so many of bell's books, and she is by far one of my most favorite authors; her work has greatly influenced my own thinking and writing. No one with a bit of openness and academic integrity can reject the wealth of insight bell has offered to feminism, race theory, and cultural studies.
With such a prolific career, however, there will be inevitable ups and downs. Without a doubt, bell's earliest works (ain't i a women, yearning, from margin to center, talking back...) are among her most groundbreaking; these works set the standard for studying race and gender as interrelated social phenomena. some of her later works lack the novelty and texture of her vintage writing.
for this reason, i am THRILLED to see wounds of passion. i love this book. having read bell's other books, i can appreciate the story she is telling -- it is interesting to see how her life experiences contribute to her academic writing. for those who describe the book as "self indulgent," self-centered, etc. Guess what? IT'S AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY!!! TO WHOM SHOULD SHE HAVE GIVEN THE ATTENTION????! Anyway, the book reveals how writing is often a mechanism for processing life's trials and tribulations. Congratulations, bell, on another wonderful work.
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Format: Paperback
As a black woman poet/writer, I was able to connect with hook's experiences and frustrations. There were deeply moving passages that explored the pain in loving and the satisfaction of pain articulated. "Language is a body of suffering and when you take up language you take up suffering too." At times, though, I felt that hooks could have been more succinct; the book could have been half its size. All in all, it is an interesting exploration into the heart of a writer and is an honest read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very pleased with this book, and I would read it again. I know some my feel it controversial, but it is a great book to those who can relate to African American women and the way that society views us as a whole in some cases. I would recommend this book to other people who have an open mind without negative critical racial views.
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By rainqueen on January 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What a treat for her fans and admirers. This is a glimpse into a brilliant mind and a radiant soul. It's also a precious companion for many black women struggling with the double loneliness and struggle of life in america and the writing life anywhere. How gracious of her to share more of her personal history with us.
Her observations are wise. Her grasp of history is absolute. Her ideas stimulate intelligent and loving thought, conversation, and action. Read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This insight to a black woman's life learning her craft of writing is insightful and very revealing. Those who have read Ms. hooks knows she leaves no leave unturned and has a no-holds approach to telling it like it is. The abuse, both physical and mental she witnessed in her childhood home must have been painful to relive. In expressing how it was to both want to follow her love of writing and loving a black man with the same ambition is a testament to her perserverance. When she found that she was being stifled she knew she had to choose for her own well-being. Loving and writing. Can the two be done? I recommend this book as a part of black women writers.
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