Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock | Review
Published by Atria Books on February 4, 2014
In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.
Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.
This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.
Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.
I picked this one up since it was part of my syllabus for my English class last fall. I don’t really read memoirs, so this book definitely opened my eyes up to the genre. I ended up wholly enjoying this book and reading about all of Mock’s hurdles describing what it’s like to be transgender in our society.
This book definitely opened my eyes to the struggles of being transgender as well as the terminology that comes with it. Mock is an extremely strong woman, and I could feel her power through her words on every page. She’s also an extremely talented writer.
If you’re looking for a memoir about truth and courage, this is definitely the one for you. By the end of it, you will feel like you know Mock in real life. I highly recommend picking it up. It’s written in a way that will make it a fairly easy and enjoyable book, as well.