by Sara Petersen ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 25, 2023
With an investigative eye and a sense of humor, Petersen sheds needed light on a key part of the social media landscape.
A deep dive into the ever growing “momfluencer” culture.
Being a mother has always been an extremely difficult job, but it has become even more so in the age of social media. Petersen, a journalist who has been studying and writing about mommy blogging since the early days, introduces us to the more recent phenomenon of momfluencers, who present their role as mothers on various sites—mainly Instagram—to sell sponsored products or sometimes their own product lines. Their mothering lives look perfect: clean and stylish houses, cute and well-behaved children, handsome and affluent husbands. The images and the accompanying stories set standards that few women can achieve, though many women want to. Petersen admits to being of two minds about momfluencers. As a mother of three, she finds it hard to resist the allure of domestic perfection, but she readily acknowledges that the picture has more to do with marketing than reality. Within the burgeoning industry, there are numerous types of momfluencers, such as the “trad mom,” the “cool mom,” and the “minimalist mom.” As the author notes, “the single feature that unites most of them is a celebration of the nuclear family and traditional gender roles.” The industry is also predominantly White, which has led to a backlash. Petersen looks at several sites developed by women of color aimed at presenting a more realistic picture as well as sites for women to share snarky comments about momfluencers. In the final pages of the book, Petersen stumbles upon the best way to escape from the momfluencers and their envy-generating performances. On a holiday with her happily imperfect family, she deleted the Instagram app. She did not want to know, “and the not knowing was bliss.”With an investigative eye and a sense of humor, Petersen sheds needed light on a key part of the social media landscape.
Pub Date: April 25, 2023
Page Count: 328
Publisher: Beacon Press
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023
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A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.
Black Americans declare their love.
This anthology brings together dozens of love letters by prominent Black Americans. The entries, interspersed with illustrations, address an eclectic mix of topics arranged under five categories: Care, Awe, Loss, Ambivalence, and Transformation. In their introduction, editors Brown and Johnson note the book’s inspiration in the witnessing of violence directed at Black America. Reckonings with outrage and grief, they explain, remain an urgent task and a precondition of creating and sustaining loving bonds. The editors seek to create “a site for our people to come together on the deepest, strongest emotion we share” and thus open “the possibility for shared deliverance” and “carve out a space for healing, together.” This aim is powerfully realized in many of the letters, which offer often poignant portrayals of where redemptive love has and might yet be found. Among the most memorable are Joy Reid’s “A Love Letter to My Hair,” a sensitive articulation of a hard-won sense of self-love; Morgan Jerkins’ “Dear Egypt,” an exploration of a lifelong passion for an ancient world; and VJ Jenkins’ “Pops and Dad,” an affirmation that it “is beautiful to be Black, to be a man, and to be gay.” Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Home: A Reckoning” is particularly thoughtful and incisive in its examination of a profound attachment, “in the best and worst ways,” to Louisville, Kentucky. Most of the pieces pair personal recollections with incisive cultural commentary. The cumulative effect of these letters is to set forth a panorama of opportunities for maintaining the ties that matter most, especially in the face of a cultural milieu that continues to produce virulent forms of love’s opposite. Other contributors include Nadia Owusu, Jamila Woods, Ben Crump, Eric Michael Dyson, Kwame Dawes, Jenna Wortham, and Imani Perry.A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.
Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023
Page Count: 240
Publisher: Get Lifted Books/Zando
Review Posted Online: June 29, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023
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by Matthew Desmond ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 21, 2023
A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.
“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.
Pub Date: March 21, 2023
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023
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