Uplifting reading for anyone, regardless of gender identity.

MY MOMENT

106 WOMEN ON FIGHTING FOR THEMSELVES

Accounts of women young and old who have taken stands against gender injustice.

Witnessing Christine Blasey Ford’s 2018 testimony about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct permanently changed and inspired this cohort of co-editors. Seeking solace in “sisterhood,” they sought firsthand accounts, and “stories began to bubble up, from inappropriate encounters and incidents normalized as a sign of the times to stories of workplace injustices, schoolyard bullying, physical and sexual abuse.” The narrative consistently reveals how disrespect for women cuts across class, color, race, and even time. Some contributors—e.g., Gloria Steinem, Cyndi Lauper, and Marlo Thomas—are celebrities whose efforts at finding success in a patriarchal society predated and/or coincided with the rise of the 1960s feminist movement. Steinem credits the cheek bite she gave a man who forced a kiss on her to “catlike [survival] instincts,” while Thomas recollects spurning her well-meaning father’s advice to give up acting after facing industry executives who told her to “marry your boyfriend and give your father some grandkids.” Many of the other contributors are ordinary young to middle-aged women. Janelle Murren, a Trinidad-born career nanny, tells a story of fully understanding male misogyny—and racism—the day a male employer complained about having to “f**ing pay her and feed her too.” Teenage athlete Miya Lao offers wisdom gained from being bullied for her small size, and transgender activist and actor Shakina Nayfack speaks proudly of “my people” and of having made a place for herself despite constantly facing misunderstanding and hate. The diversity of voices is the greatest strength of this profoundly personal book, which also contains images of each contributor shot with cameras the editors gave them. The message of hope and courage they offer to all women is a powerful tonic to contemporary anti-feminism. Other well-known contributors include Chelsea Handler, Reba McEntire, Carol Burnett, and Billie Jean King.

Uplifting reading for anyone, regardless of gender identity.

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982160-92-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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