The famed activist tells her life story.
With emphasis on her subject’s early development, Shamir here carefully adapts Richards’ bestselling 2018 memoir (written with Peterson) for a younger crowd, hoping to inspire fledgling activists to follow Richards’ pathbreaking example in introducing social change. The eldest of four and a “classic all-A’s first child…raised by troublemakers,” Richards was born in 1957 in Texas to “rabble-rousing” civil rights lawyer David Richards and Ann Richards, who went from “frustrated housewife” to “the first woman elected in her own right as governor of Texas.” Exposed early on to then-segregated Dallas’ “rampant” racism and homophobia and given her progressive pedigree (“we looked like the quintessential upper-middle-class Dallas family. But while other families bowled, we did politics”), Richards richly details the varied calls to action for social causes she’s answered throughout her career. She started “Youth Against Pollution” in seventh grade in Austin and a food co-op while at Brown University, where she “majored in history” but “minored in agitating”; fought to keep religion out of Texas public schools and nationally to register voters; joined Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s staff; and headed Planned Parenthood for 12 years (2006-18)—not to mention getting married and parenting three children along the way. Throughout the memoir, Richards lends solid practical advice for resisting and organizing while offering a fascinating window into contemporary social struggles.
Gritty, accessible, and sure to strike a chord with action-oriented Gen Z. (Memoir. 10-18)