An incisive collection of writing about how women’s anger “doesn’t have to be useful to deserve a voice.”

BURN IT DOWN

WOMEN WRITING ABOUT ANGER

An editor and journalist gathers 22 essays from a diverse group of contemporary women writers about the nature of modern female rage.

Catapult contributing editor Dancyger creates a cathartic space for both well- and lesser-known writers to express the various ways in which their anger has manifested in their lives. The opening essay, Leslie Jamison’s “Lungs Full of Burning,” sets the tone for the rest of the book. For years, Jamison took pride in being “someone who wasn’t prone to anger” until she realized that the sadness she often felt was really a manifestation of a rage society would not let her own. Monet Patrice Thomas follows Jamison with a discussion of how society considers angry black women to have “an attitude” and how, in general, they are allowed to feel only one emotion: fear. Reclaiming anger—and an abused body—is at the heart of Rios de la Luz’s essay “Enojada,” which details her experiences with sexual molestation suffered at the hands of her mother's boyfriend. In “On Transfeminine Anger,” Samantha Riedel describes the rage she felt as a gender-confused boy and then in the early years of her trans womanhood, when she railed against “the forces of misogyny and transphobia” only to end up hurting people she cared about. Destructive as anger can be, Reema Zaman shows how it can also liberate. Zaman depicts the moment she stood up to her bullying husband and told him, “I was born for life beyond you.” In “The Color of Being Muslim,” Shaheen Pasha talks about her rage at “the suffocating expectations of others,” both within and without the Pakistani American community, who saw her as being too Muslim or not Muslim enough. Powerful and provocative, this collection is an instructive read for anyone seeking to understand the many faces—and pains—of womanhood in 21st-century America.

An incisive collection of writing about how women’s anger “doesn’t have to be useful to deserve a voice.”

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58005-893-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

  • National Book Award Winner

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 20

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more