MY SISTERS' VOICES: Teenage Girls of Color Speak Out

Iris Jacob, Author . Holt/Owl $13 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8050-6821-4

After reading Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia and Sara Shandler's Ophelia Speaks, 18-year-old biracial Jacob felt her "struggle had not been truly identified... in addition to bearing the weight of being teenagers and female, we also carry the enormous issues of race and ethnicity." While she admits that her literary answer to this struggle won't solve all of the world's problems, it might empower adolescent girls of color. Jacob solicited works from teens across the country, writing thousands of letters to friends, English teachers and social organizations. The result is a stirring collection of essays and poems detailing the coming-of-age experiences of a diverse group of young women identified by name, age and ethnicity. Jacob and company tackle such issues as interracial friendships, poverty, oppression and family. With her personal reflections inserted before each piece, Jacob exhibits empathy with the writers, revealing rage when presenting African-American Brooke Wilson's harangue against female objectification, and later joining Chinese/Italian Alicia Mazzara in displaying defiance when forced to choose one race over another in the biographical information section of standardized forms. Some of the writings are more race-oriented than others (e.g., Shivani Agarwal's heartbreaking story of first love does not mention ethnicity, and some contributors are listed as "African American," while others are simply "Black"), but all are important and will resonate with teens—and their parents, teachers and mentors. Agent, Agnes Birnbaum. (Apr. 3)

Reviewed on: 03/25/2002
Release date: 09/01/2000
Prebound-Sewn - 272 pages - 978-0-613-90143-7
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4668-3259-6
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