Synopses & Reviews
In a landmark book, an extraordinary young woman recounts her coming-of-age as a transgender teen — a deeply personal and empowering portrait of self-revelation, adversity, and heroism.
In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she publicly stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Since then, Mock has gone from covering the red carpet for People.com to advocating for all those who live within the shadows of society. Redefining Realness offers a bold new perspective on being young, multiracial, economically challenged, and transgender in America.
Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock set out early on to be her own person — no simple feat for a young person like herself. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving, yet ill-equipped family that lacked money, education, and resources. Mock had to navigate her way through her teen years without parental guidance but luckily with a few close friends and mentors she overcame extremely daunting hurdles.
This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from her early gender conviction to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that found her transitioning through the halls of her school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. Ever resilient, Mock emerged with a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned her masters degree, basked in the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past.
It wasn’t until Mock fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams that she felt ready to finally tell her story, becoming a fierce advocate for girls like herself. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness shows as never before what it means to be a woman today and how to be yourself when you don’t fit the mold created for you.
"A noble effort at transcending genre conventions ultimately redeems activist Mock's memoir from the ill-fitting prose that undermines early chapters. The author grows more comfortable and confident with the confessional medium as the book progresses, taking readers through the life of a biracial trans woman growing up in Honolulu. Of the book's many strengths, the most notable is its political bite. 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, wrenching emotion from the reader as she describes her experiences with sexual assault, bullying, abuse, and sex work on the streets of Honolulu. 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.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“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
“An eye-opening and unapologetic story that is much greater than mere disclosure.... An enlightening, much-needed perspective on transgender identity.” Kirkus Reviews
“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.” Slate.com
“A fiery success.” The Atlantic
“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.” The Feminist Wire
“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.” Lambda Literary
“Mock’s grace in handling complexity is matched by her frankness, and she talks race, class, and intersectional politics without ever sounding polemical.” The Rumpus
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 and advocate, lauded by the Anti-Violence Project, the Center for American Progress, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, she has an MA in journalism from New York University, worked as an editor at People.com, and appeared in HBO’s The Out List. Find out more at JanetMock.com.