Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More

Janet Mock. Atria, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4767-0912-3
A noble effort at transcending genre conventions ultimately redeems activist Mock’s memoir from the ill-fitting prose that undermines early chapters. The author grows more comfortable and confident with the confessional medium as the book progresses, taking readers through the life of a biracial trans woman growing up in Honolulu. Of the book’s many strengths, the most notable is its political bite. 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, wrenching emotion from the reader as she describes her experiences with sexual assault, bullying, abuse, and sex work on the streets of Honolulu. 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.” (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/09/2013
Release date: 02/04/2014
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4767-0914-7
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4767-0913-0
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