A powerful celebration of self-acceptance and sisterhood.

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DEAR KHLOE

LOVE LETTERS TO MY LITTLE SISTER

One hundred black women tell their stories of learning to love their natural hair. 

Photographer/debut author Detrick-Jules was in her final semester at Brown University when she received a troubling phone call from her father. Her 4-year-old sister Khloe’s classmates had “told her that her hair was ugly—and she believed it.” The news caused “a pain, sharp and familiar.” When Detrick-Jules was younger, she too had internalized that her natural, curly hair was unattractive. It wasn’t until she was in college that she “began to love the melanin in my skin and the curls in my hair.” Thus her book was born, a message to Khloe and other black girls that their hair is just right, just as it is. The author interviewed and photographed black women of all ages and from all walks of life, who share their images and experiences in this compelling and inspirational coffee-table book. Many of their stories are heartbreaking or infuriating. Numerous women talk of the damage done to their hair and self-esteem by perms and chemical relaxers while others have spent years fielding offensive and hurtful comments about their appearances. (One woman recalls a co-worker who casually told her that “curly hair just seems so immature.”) Some reflect on the cultural and family biases against natural hair or the privilege granted to those with “good hair.” But for every painful memory, there is a strong message of self-love and acceptance. “Your hair is a work of art,” one woman says. A woman who came of age during the height of the Black Power movement explains that not straightening her hair was a way of freeing herself from Eurocentric beauty standards as well as “liberating myself from the capitalist system” by refusing to purchase fake hair made with polluting chemicals. Others discuss how their natural hair is a way of connecting with and reclaiming their African heritage by embracing an ideal of beauty that was lost during slavery. Accompanying the illuminating and stirring commentary are gorgeous color photographs of each woman, each with her own look and personality but all equally beautiful. 

A powerful celebration of self-acceptance and sisterhood.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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