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In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.
With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.
About the Author
Janet Mock is a writer, TV host, and advocate tackling stigma through storytelling. With a Master’s in journalism from New York University, the Honolulu native began her career as an editor at People.com and went on to write cover stories for Marie Claire, Interview, and The Advocate as well as essays for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Lenny. She produced HBO’s The Trans List, hosts the podcast Never Before, and serves as a columnist for Allure. Called a “fearless new voice” and “trailblazing leader” who “changed my way of thinking” by Oprah Winfrey, Janet was a featured speaker at the historic Women’s March on Washington. She is the author of Surpassing Certainty and the New York Times bestseller Redefining Realness. Find out more at JanetMock.com.
“Far too many assume that Janet Mock's story is primarily about her body. This book is irrefutable evidence that Janet must be understood through her intellect, spirit, and wit. Janet does what only great writers of autobiography accomplish—she tells a story of the self, which turns out to be a reflection of all humanity. You will be changed by this book.”
— Melissa Harris-Perry, Wake Forest University Professor and host of MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry"
“A fiery success.”
“Mock’s compelling memoir entrancingly chronicles the story of a multiracial trans woman’s becoming within a society that is still widely antagonistic to the non-White, non-male, transgender, and economically challenged among us. . . . Mock has written herself into herstory. And she has done so with clarity and poetic brilliance.”
“Courageous! Told with a spirit of raw honesty that moves beyond confession to redemptive revelation, this book is a life map for transformation—for changing minds. A heart-rending autobiography of love, longing, and fulfillment.”
— bell hooks, feminist, social activist, and author of All About Love
“Redefining Realness is a classic American autobiography. Like Richard Wright and Maya Angelou, Janet Mock brings us into a world we may not know and with breathtaking insight, courage, and masterful craft makes her story universal.”
— Barbara Smith, author of the Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom, co-founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press
— Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Stuck in the Middle With You
“Redefining Realness is a riveting, emotional, crisply written testimony. I couldn't put it down. I aspire to be as unflinchingly brave! Janet Mock's story simultaneously embodies, complicates, and subverts the concept of American exceptionalism and self-creation.”
— Laverne Cox, actress, advocate, and star of Orange Is the New Black
“Defining oneself is a revolutionary act, and, as described in her memoir, Janet Mock fiercely fought to free herself with exquisite bravery and sensitivity. Redefining Realness is full of hope, dreams, and determination. It is a true American girl story.”
— Michaela angela Davis, Image Activist/Writer/CNN Contributor
“Every Cinderella story has its problematic step-parents to maneuver around, and its metaphorical fireplaces to clean, before the heroine is whisked off to the ball. Janet Mock’s is no exception. But the real magic here is not of the fairy-tale kind. Redefining Realness overflows with the everyday magic of survival and resiliency in low income communities of color, of loving kindness bursting through the cracks of a hard reality, and of the life-sustaining bonds of family, friendships, and a powerful trans sisterhood.”
— Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History and Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of the Institute for LGBT, University of Arizona
— Raquel Cepeda, author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina
“An eye-opening and unapologetic story that is much greater than mere disclosure.... An enlightening, much-needed perspective on transgender identity.”
“Mock defies the historically apolitical confines of the transgender memoir, and draws bright lines connecting her experiences to the larger realm of social justice, with a keen political eye that uses her individual experience to elucidate the wider condition of trans women of color in the U.S. Her vivid prose arouses every sense.... Although the book is ostensibly one woman’s coming-of-age story, Mock fulfills grander purposes here; in coming to terms with her own difficult journey she also uses that experience didactically, as if to take the uninitiated, non-transgender reader with her, most certainly achieving 'realness.'”
“A memoir that takes the coming-of-age narrative to both a higher and deeper level.... Mock juxtaposes the personal and the political with a dose of academic theory and pop culture, honestly detailing both the joys and difficulties of her journey.”
“A classic feminist coming-of-age story that’s worthy of your mantel. . . . Her memoir recounts a life that is both hardscrabble and hard-fought, making for a must-read book that is at turns riveting and wonderfully emotionally nuanced.”
— The Advocate
“The beauty of Mock’s memoir is that it is both personal and universal; her story is her own, but it also transcends the specificity of her life narrative to touch all of us.”
“Mock’s grace in handling complexity is matched by her frankness, and she talks race, class, and intersectional politics without ever sounding polemical.”
“It's fully intersectional, deliciously activist, wonderfully unapologetic, brazen, and beautiful. I love Mock's book because, like the best feminist reads, it’s really about the insight that telling stories can be a revolutionary act.”
— Laura Ciolkowski, Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Social Difference and Adjunct Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University