Synopses & Reviews
Magick spells and inverted fairly tales combat queer scapegoating, domestic violence, and high-interest student loans.
Cashing into the dream that education is the road out of poverty, a teen mom takes a chance on bettering herself, gets on welfare rolls, and talks her way into college. But once she’s there, the phallocratic story of "overcoming" permeates every subject. Creative writing professors depend heavily on Freytag’s pyramid to analyze life. So Ariel turns to a rich subcultural canon of resistance and failure, populated by writers like Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Anzaldúa, Tillie Olsen, and Kathy Acker.
Wryly riffing on feminist literary tropes, We Were Witches documents the survival of a demonized single mother. She’s beset by custody disputes, homophobia, and America’s ever-present obsession with shaming odd women into passive citizenship. But even as the narrator struggles to graduate — often the triumphant climax of a dramatic narrative — the question lingers uncomfortably. If you’re dealing with precarious parenthood, queer identity, and debt: What is the true narrative shape of your experience?
"We Were Witches is raw and truthful, painfully funny, inspiring of outrage, and alive with the wonder and magic of a feminist awakening. One single mom becoming woke, struggling, and triumphing on her own outsider terms, We Were Witches is a new feminist classic, penned by one the culture’s strongest authors at her most experimental and personal." Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave
"Ariel Gore’s We Were Witches is one woman’s body refusing to become property, refusing to be overwritten by law or traditions, one woman’s body cutting open a hole in culture so that actual bodies might emerge. A triumphant body story. A singularly spectacular siren song." Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children
"We Were Witches seizes the shame and hurt internalized by young women and turns it into magic art and poetry. Ariel Gore’s writing is a diamond pentacle carved into a living heart, transforming singular experience into universal knowledge." Susie Bright, author of Big Sex Little Death
"This book mimics the messy, discursive texture of memory — of life.... Inventive and affecting." Kirkus Reviews
Spurred on by nineties "family values" campaigns and determined to better herself through education, a teen mom talks her way into college. Disgusted by an overabundance of phallocratic narratives and Freytag's pyramid, she turns to a subcultural canon of resistance and failure. Wryly riffing on feminist literary tropes, it documents the survival of a demonized single mother figuring things out.
This inspirational "magic-infused narrative . . . is a moving account of a young writer and mother striving to claim her own agency and find her voice" (Publishers Weekly).
Buying into the dream that education is the road out of poverty, a teen mom takes a chance on bettering herself and talks her way into college. But once she's there, phallocratic narratives permeate every subject.
Wryly riffing on feminist literary tropes, We Were Witches documents the survival of a demonized single lesbian mother as she's beset by custody disputes, homophobia, and America's ever-present obsession with shaming unconventional women into passive citizenship.
But even as the narrator struggles to graduate, a question uncomfortably lingers: If you're dealing with precarious parenthood, queer identity, and debt, what is the true narrative shape of your experience?
About the Author
Ariel Gore is a journalist, memoirist, novelist, nonfiction author, and teacher. She is a graduate of Mills College and the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She is the founding editor/publisher of Hip Mama, an Alternative Press Award-winning publication covering the culture and politics of motherhood.
Her memoir, Atlas of the Human Heart, was a 2004 finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her anthology Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City won a LAMBDA Literary Award in 2010. She has taught at The Attic Institute in Portland, Oregon, at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and at the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.