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

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

4.5 10
by Janet Mock
 

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New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the 2015 WOMEN'S WAY Book Prize • Goodreads Best of 2014 Semi-Finalist • Books for a Better Life Award Finalist • Lambda Literary Award Finalist • Time Magazine “30 Most Influential People on the Internet” • American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book

In her

Overview

New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the 2015 WOMEN'S WAY Book Prize • Goodreads Best of 2014 Semi-Finalist • Books for a Better Life Award Finalist • Lambda Literary Award Finalist • Time Magazine “30 Most Influential People on the Internet” • American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book

In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.

With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/09/2013
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.)
Slate.com
“A memoir that takes the coming-of-age narrative to both a higher and deeper level.... Mock juxtaposes the personal and the political with a dose of academic theory and pop culture, honestly detailing both the joys and difficulties of her journey.”
Library Journal
★ 06/01/2016
Activist and trans woman Mock describes her difficult childhood as a multiracial child in Hawaii who transitioned while still in her teens. Mock neatly explains basic transgender terms and concepts, making this title especially valuable and important. (LJ 2/15/14)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-18
One woman's authentic memoir about becoming her true self. Being poor and black can be difficult enough, but being poor, black and transgender can appear nearly insurmountable in today's world. Nonetheless, with grit and determination, Mock accepted her position in life and moved ever forward toward her goal of becoming the woman she knew she was meant to be. With simple honesty, the author brings readers into the world of transgender identity, of what it meant and felt like to be born and thought of as a boy, only to know deep inside that she was not that boy. From learning her father was addicted to crack to the childhood sexual abuse she sustained to the street sex she performed to gain enough money for her sex-change operation, Mock allows readers into the deepest and darkest moments of her life. As she writes, "[w]hy tell your story if you're not going to tell it in its entirety?" The author also provides endearing stories of her moments of delight as she transitioned, the girlfriends who accepted her and aided her with makeup and clothes, the women who helped her out on the streets and the family members who embraced her regardless of her gender identity. Undercurrents of strong emotion swirl throughout this well-written book, as Mock constantly moves forward toward complete womanhood, and she freely discusses her thoughts on the world's view of transgender and "other" people. It is an eye-opening and unapologetic story that is much greater than mere disclosure; it is a necessary assessment that a transgender person is as normal as any other person who claims the title of normalcy and that gender and body shape do not form a person's identity. An enlightening, much-needed perspective on transgender identity.
From the Publisher
"[I]ntelligent and educational." ---Library Journal
Laura Ciolkowski
“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.”
Lena Dunham
“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.”
Laverne Cox
“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.”
Michaela angela Davis
“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.”
Barbara Smith
“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.”
Raquel Cepeda
"Janet Mock's honest and sometimes searing journey is a rare and important look into la vida liminal, one that she manages to negotiate remarkably well, with grace, humor, and fierce grit. Mock doesn't only redefine what realness means to her, but challenges us to rethink our own perceptions of gender and sexuality, feminism and sisterhood, making this book a transcendent piece of American literature."
Jennifer Finney Boylan
"Janet Mock’s groundbreaking book is testimony to the remarkable progress trans people have achieved over the last decade-- and shines a bright light on the work that still needs to be done. Mock’s clear, lucid prose will open hearts and minds, and further the goals of equality and justice--not just for trans people, but for everyone. Redefining Realness is loving, searing, and true."
Susan Stryker
“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.”
bell hooks
“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.”
Melissa Harris-Perry
“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.”
The Atlantic
“A fiery success.”
The Feminist Wire
“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 Advocate
“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.”
Lambda Literary
“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.”
The Rumpus
“Mock’s grace in handling complexity is matched by her frankness, and she talks race, class, and intersectional politics without ever sounding polemical.”
Rookie
“Pardon the hyperbole, but Janet Mock may be the best person ever. . . . A beautiful, powerful memoir.”
Crunk Feminist Collective
“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.”
For Books' Sake
“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.”
Feministing
“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.”
The Daily Dot
“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.”
Slate
“A memoir that takes the coming-of-age narrative to both a higher and deeper level.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476709123
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
02/04/2014
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
542,503
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Author’s Note

This book is my truth and personal history. I have recalled facts, from events to people, to the best of my ability. When memory failed me, I did not seek answers in imagination. I sought clarity through conversations with those who’ve shared experiences with me. When my recollection of events varied from theirs, I sided with my memory and used their voice, often direct quotes, to contextualize events.
Many people featured in the book gave me permission to use their names; others I changed or labeled with an initial to protect their privacy, whether they were guilty, innocent, indifferent, or somewhere in between.
As for terminology, I prefer to use trans over transgender or transsexual when identifying myself, although I don’t find either offensive.I do not use real or genetic or biological or natural to describe the sex,body, or gender of those who are not trans. Instead, I’ve used cis, aterm applied to those who are not trans and therefore less likely toexperience the misalignment of their gender identity and assigned sex at birth—a matter we do not control, yet one that continues to frame who is normalized or stigmatized.
Finally, though I highlight some of the shared experiences of trans women and women of color throughout this book, it was not written with the intent of representation. There is no universal women’s experience. We all have stories, and this is one personal narrative out of untold thousands, and I am aware of the privilege I hold in telling my story. Visit JanetMock.com for more information, resources, and writings.

Meet the Author

Janet Mock is a writer, TV host and advocate lauded by the Anti-Violence Project, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Ms. Foundation for Women. A graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, she has an MA in journalism from New York University. She has worked as an editor at People.com, hosted a series of specials for MSNBC (So POPular!, Global Citizen Festival, and Beyond My Body) and appeared on OWN’s Super Soul Sunday, where Oprah Winfrey called her a “fearless new voice” and “trailblazing leader,” who “changed my way of thinking.” In addition, she is a contributing editor at Marie Claire and produced and conducted interviews for HBO’s The Trans List. She is the author of Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty. Find out more at JanetMock.com.

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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An important read. Courageous. World changing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Girls, give YOURSELF a gift this Valentine’s Day and every day by purchasing a copy of Janet Mock’s debut book, Redefining Realness. Janet Mock sweetly lulls and fiercely incites. She shares her family relationships, navigation of gender, a specific generation-X and millennial cusp experience of Hawaiian and U.S. history, as well as the statistically often untold and violently obscured and suppressed story of girlhood for a young trans* girl of color. She shares with us her journeying and surviving. Janet Mock is steadfast. In her “Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More,” she shares her stories - like one about watching Sailor Moon in early mornings before school with her younger brothers, a childhood story about running through the yard in her Grandma’s mumu, and the lived realities of being a teenage sex worker. Put simply, Janet Mock is a girl’s girl, and if you are as well, then this is the book for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If words could sing, thus would be an orchestra. The direct style is "softened" by excellent visual descriptions of the world that the author wants us to visit. There is true courage and honesty, which is the point. You learn to feel realness for the characters (real ppl) and love, hate and want to know more about them...especially Janet. You feel her vulnerability and strength at same time. Amazing Book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started reading this and couldn't stop. Simply amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Janet Mock's life story of growing up and coming to terms with her identity, not just her gender, is powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is arguably the hardest book one could write about oneself. Mock writes this with grace and incredible insight into her experience of being trans. She writes that every trans person's history is unique, but I think in reading this a reader can get tremendous insight into what it is like for her to be trans that may suggest what it's like for anyone to be trans. It's a very revealing book, told with great courage and with nothing held back.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
June222013 More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing very well written and very easy to read ms. Mock brings you along thru her life story and along the way you see just how amazing the human spirit really is