Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More [NOOK Book]

Overview

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these ...
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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More

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Overview

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.

Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
02/15/2014
According to Mock (and based on a 2006 report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Coalition for the Homeless), as many as 40 percent of the estimated 1.6 million homeless and runaway American youth are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual. Writer, editor (People.com), activist, and self-described trans woman Mock pens a poignant memoir that shakes up the prevailing rigid belief system regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Her story illustrates the stigma, discrimination, and violence that too often target those who don't neatly conform to society's heteronormative standards. While she eventually finds resolution and happiness, her journey to self-revelation is complicated, and she neither romanticizes nor attempts to simplify her personal narrative. She tells with unflinching honesty the story of her involvement with the sex trades in order to pay for genital reconstructive surgery, but she is able to recognize, with compassion, the lack of choices she and others truly have faced. VERDICT Mock points out that trans people are more likely than others to struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts and actions, substance abuse, and self-harming behaviors. In her desire to advocate for them, she has written a book that is both intelligent and educational. Recommended for lovers of memoirs and for readers with a sincere interest in the subject matter.—Linda F. Petty, Wimberley, TX
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.”
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.”
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."
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.”
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476709147
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 44,546
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Janet Mock is a writer and advocate, lauded by the Anti-Violence Project, the Center for American Progress, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, she has an MA in journalism from New York University, worked as an editor at People.com, and appeared in HBO’s The Out List. Find out more at JanetMock.com.
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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.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    A Must Read

    An important read. Courageous. World changing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 17, 2014

    This book is amazing very well written and very easy to read ms.

    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  

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Girls, give YOURSELF a gift this Valentine¿s Day and every day b

    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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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