15. Janet Mock – Redefining Realness

Guys…. I can see it… the light at the end of the tunnel…. Spring Break is almost here!

I’ve had two midterms and two papers due this past week, but basically all I have to do tomorrow is hand one of those papers in and sit through a few classes and then I get a week off! I have to take the train home on Friday which means plenty of time to read! Yay!

Somehow, along with studying, researching, doing interviews and writing those papers, I managed to read a book this week! It was Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, a transgender woman of color who used to work for People magazine. This book is her story of her life.

Redefining Realness was one of the books I got for Christmas from my sister. I had wanted to read it, but truthfully, I didn’t know too much about her story, I just saw the book once and thought it looked interesting (if you’ve been following along, you’re probably noticing a theme here…).

Janet Mock - Redefining Realness (photo taken by me)
Janet Mock – Redefining Realness (photo taken by me)

The book starts out with a scene from 2009, when she first met her current boyfriend, Aaron. I really, really liked that scene and wish she had included more about her recent life in the book.

Anyway, after that scene, it flashes back to her childhood in Hawaii. The book follows her through most of her young life, including moving to the main land to live with her father and one of her brothers, moving back to Hawaii, being the first in her family to attend college, and eventually getting gender reassignment surgery in Thailand (although she point out that this surgery was not the “end goal”).

Her story has a lot more to it then just “growing up trans”. Besides the adversity she faced in that aspect, she also had a dad who was addicted to crack, a mom who was more concerned with her current boyfriend than her children, and was nearly homeless for a while.

Her story is really amazing. There were so many pieces of her story that totally surprised me. It really is a great read.

One thing that I loved most about the story were her pop culture references. I know that sounds like something so trivial, but it made me laugh when she compared a mascara-stained tear running down her face to that of Lauren Conrad’s on The Hills and comparisons like that made the book all the more relatable for me (although I really can’t relate to her story in any way).

As I mentioned before, I loved the beginning when she described her first meeting with her boyfriend. I’m not sure what about it I loved so much, but it stuck with me. It kind of teased me a bit, and after that when she talked about her childhood in detail, it made me wish she had more stories of her adult life in the book. That’s the only complaint I have about this book, other than that, I really enjoyed it. She has a great way of portraying characters and her story is really stunning.


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