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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood,…

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much…

by Janet Mock

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5371831,178 (4.26)16
"In a landmark book, an extraordinary young woman recounts her coming-of-age as a transgender teen--a deeply personal and empowering portrait of self-revelation, adversity, and heroism. In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she publicly stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Since then, Mock has gone from covering the red carpet for People.com to advocating for all those who live within the shadows of society. Redefining Realness offers a bold new perspective on being young, multiracial, economically challenged, and transgender in America. Welcomed into the world as her parents' firstborn son, Mock set out early on to be her own person--no simple feat for a young person like herself. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving, yet ill-equipped family that lacked money, education, and resources. Mock had to navigate her way through her teen years without parental guidance but luckily with a few close friends and mentors she overcame extremely daunting hurdles. This powerful memoir follows Mock's quest for identity, from her early gender conviction to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that found her transitioning through the halls of her school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. Ever resilient, Mock emerged with a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned her masters degree, basked in the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. It wasn't until Mock fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams that she felt ready to finally tell her story, becoming a fierce advocate for girls like herself. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness shows as never before what it means to be a woman today and how to be yourself when you don't fit the mold created for you"--… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
A beautiful, entertaining, raw, and deeply politically aware, deeply intersectionally feminist memoir. Well worth the read for young trans folx looking for a story that might reflects theirs, especially young folx at the intersection of several identities, for cis allies looking to learn more about the journey of a young trans woman of color, and for families of trans folx.

This memoir has embedded in an engaging life story paragraphs and paragraphs of statistics, references to shaping events and legislation in the LGBTQ world, and thought out socio/political considerations of situations Janet found herself in, choices she made, the worlds she moved through. Just a fantastic memoir. ( )
  Samberry | Aug 3, 2019 |
I chose to read this book because I have never been challenged or asked to affirm my gender - and I wanted to know how someone copes with that. I am a cis-woman whose relationships don't require explanations; Janet is obligated to tell lovers she is trans. She has to (?) clarify what "kind" of woman she is. She has a way of managing the difficulties of society and her circumstances that I really admire. Janet constantly recognizes those who supported her and the acceptance she received from others. She highlights them to the point that the others are barely recognizable except as teaching moments. She looks back on her life and constantly notes how lucky she was to not be attacked or killed for affirming her gender. She spends much more time describing the positive than the many hard realities that she faced - which are many in addition to her being assigned male.

To me, it feels like Janet is writing to educate. Janet succeeds in weaving her memoir with education to help inform readers of issues affecting trans people and cis people. At one point, I especially felt that she was entreating teachers and counselors to be better allies. Throughout her memoir she cites sources (naming the sources in the text, opening the door as wide as possible so you can find out more), explains terms, and compassionately describes sexism, feminism, and the behaviors that hurt and help young men and women who are affirming their gender. Although I'm already on board with the information and intent, I think it's a good book for someone who is just learning about these issues like myself. ( )
  CassandraT | Sep 23, 2018 |
Anyone who's ever stepped outside the norms of the community they were born into will appreciate this book. It's a defining memoir for the 21st century. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, whose narration is terrific.

Janet Mock is a woman with a deeply intersectional life experience. She was raised in poverty, is both multiracial and transgender. She embodies resilience and strength, telling her story with heart and grit.

She says, "Our genders are as unique as we are. No one’s definition is the same, and compartmentalizing a person as either a boy or a girl based entirely on the appearance of genitalia at birth undercuts our complex life experiences.”

Having traveled to Hawaii and loved the vibe, I also enjoyed learning more about the culture and language. For example, the exchange Wendi and Janet share about being mahu or third-gendered. Knowing that words like this exist, along with the cultural norms that create them, reminds me of how narrow-minded even the most open white, European-descended Americans like myself can be.

Janet shares how she was affected by the works of celebrated and relevant black authors like James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Zora Neale Hurston. All three of them have jetted even higher on my reading lists.

Despite the difficulties she's faced, Janet is never maudlin. In terms of her experience and the societal issues of transgender life, she tells it like it is. She covers the very real truths of violence, sex work, and family rejection that transgender people, especially women, face. If feel as if I received an education and a new perspective from this book. ( )
  TheBibliophage | Mar 20, 2018 |
Very important read. I had heard of Janet Mock but had not gotten around to reading her book. I knew it was going to be good after reading the first chapter or two at the bookstore and I'm glad to see that it panned out all the way through. Although I had read a few other memoirs by transgender people, I thought this was an excellent read and actually might have been a good book to read first.
The book is about her childhood until her gender reassignment surgery (yes that is a bit spoiler-y but I'll guess this isn't that big o a deal). We read about how Janet almost always felt a bit "different" and how that affected her growing up, her relationships with people (family, friends, classmates, etc.) as well as her own experiences, feelings, perceptions, etc. I found it informative if perhaps "101" basic (going over terminology such as "cis"). That isn't a criticism in any way, but I found it a bit surprising (still helpful though).
I really appreciated her thoughts about particular experiences and issues surrounding the trans community: everything from acceptance to finances (linked to being possibly rejected by one's family/community/job) to noting that the transition can be a transitional period for family/friends as well, to the isolation some feel, etc. I had read and heard about this from others, but all the same I still appreciated her thoughts and the pauses she'd take in her story.
In some ways it's hard for me to review this book. I am not transgender and I certainly wouldn't consider myself an expert by any means. But I thought overall it was an interesting story told very well. And that it's important to keep in mind that her story is different from anyone else's. I suppose I would have liked more about her post-op life (other than the bits and pieces at the beginning and end of the books) and would have liked to have any other books/resources she'd personally recommend for reference as a list.
I'd also warn people that this book does describe sexual abuse, the sex work Mock and others undertake, abusive family, bullying and other similar topics. These are topics that appear throughout the book if you have concerns.
But overall I found to be informative and educational. Not everyone will agree with what she wrote and not everyone who really should read it will. But I bought it and was happy to do so. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
I found her story powerful and interesting to read. I do not like to critique memoirs because it feels like a judgment of the person. I could not give high marks to the book because I felt her insights were stated and restated so many times. The points are well worth emphasizing but I feel like she gained my support from the beginning and I didn't need to be constantly convinced of how hard it is to be trans in this world. Her story speaks for itself. I would recommend to anyone trying to understand the struggle. ( )
  beebeereads | Nov 18, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Janet Mockprimary authorall editionscalculated
Putorti, JillDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tredwell, AaronCover photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vairo, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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You become strong by doing the things you need to be strong for. This is the way genuine learning takes place. That's a very difficult way to live, but it also has served me. It's been an asset as well as a liability.

--Audre Lorde
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