In 1892, Alice Mitchell was a heartbroken young woman. The woman she loved, Freda Ward, had broken off their engagement and was making it perfectly clIn 1892, Alice Mitchell was a heartbroken young woman. The woman she loved, Freda Ward, had broken off their engagement and was making it perfectly clear that she didn't want anything to do with her. Today, those sentences don't sound too remarkable. But in Victorian-era, post-Reconstruction, southern United States, however, there are serious issues with them. So much so, that they overshadowed Alice's next move, which was murdering her ex-fiance in cold blood, in the middle of a crowded Memphis street.
As much as I looked forward to reading it, I learned quickly on, that I'd severely underestimated this book. Much like another favorite of mine, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil , this story weaves seamlessly away from the scandal of the murder and into that of the people and climate of not only Memphis itself, but America as a whole. The idea that a young, white, woman from a middle-class family could commit such a heinous crime was one issue, but the idea that she could have not only loved another woman, but had the audacity to believe she could marry her, pose as a man, and build a home in the way that a man would, was what fueled the sensational headlines and led the defense attorneys to stand on an insanity plea. The book is sprinkled with bits of recreated pieces of primary source material, and stunning but simplistic art depicting the cast of interesting characters.
One gem of the book, was an unexpected journey into the racial climate of the environment, when Coe recounts a story of a lynching that takes place during the same time of Alice's imprisonment, and the concurrent timelines of Ida B. Wells' rise as a political activist that was hated and threatened merely for her ideas, while Alice stood trial for a murder that she actually committed, that the white men of their city did NOT want to see her hang for.
While Alice's choice to kill Freda in a fit of passion was outrageous, and much of the evidence does display a gross obsession, the book goes so far beyond that to showcase how the trial was so severely impacted by the same-sex aspect of the star-crossed love. I really enjoyed the book, and will definitely recommend it to someone who loves a good trial, great historical nonfiction, and a look at how far we've come in mental-health, gender expression, and sexuality....more
I never watched Tiny and Toya. To be honest, I was a bit prejudiced. Comments or tabloid posts didn't necessarily sway me, but I was a bit tired of thI never watched Tiny and Toya. To be honest, I was a bit prejudiced. Comments or tabloid posts didn't necessarily sway me, but I was a bit tired of the reality shows that highlighted the almost-wives, wifey material, and opportunistic exes of celebs. That, and I've lost interest in most of what BET produces these days.
So, I just wasn't all that interested in seeing how life was like for the former singer/current fiance (at the time) of T.I., or the ex-wife of Lil Wayne. Neither life interested me in the least, and I just wasn't up to the real housewifey-ish drama.
I wonder if I had watched, would I be less inspired and profoundly touched by Ms. Carter's book. She had much, much more to say than what I expected to hear.
Antonia Carter may be known by some as the ex-wife of a famous rapper, but she's also a heroine. A survivor of family secrets, heartbreak and desperation. She's turned her life into something she can be proud of, and not only is it a story worth reading, but one worth sharing.
At a very young age, Toya was "collected" by an uncle and his wife who realized that drugs were keeping Toya's parents from actually taking care of her. She grew up longing for a relationship with her mother, and yet ashamed of her through the harsh words of neighbors and even some family. That embarrassment led to teenage rebellion, which also led to her being tossed from house to house within her family. Some aunts were too old to take care of an angry, disrespectful teen, while some cousins were simply uninterested. The few family members who wanted more for her, she rebelled even harder against.
Meanwhile, the place she would freely accept affection from, was boys. Their hugs and kisses made her feel worthwhile and acceptable. As Toya put it, she felt like if she was pretty and he was handsome, and they were popular all would be well. While she evaded actually going "too far" with most of the boys she dated, she finally fell head over heels in love with a boy she calls "Dream", who readers learn is her name for Wayne. Their romance was hot, heavy, and endearing but she makes reference to the fact that Dream was simply not ready for the family life she had in mind. Even less when she actually did become pregnant at age 14.
Through short vignettes into her life as a young and practically homeless mom to daughter Reginae, 18 year old wife of a young man whose career was taking him farther from the home she wanted so desperately to build, and overcoming her feelings of low self worth, Toya gives amazingly blunt and heartfelt advice. She discusses the relationship with her ex-husband, friends, and family members freely, with a tone of maturity and forgiveness.
Some of Toya's advice is said with an innocence that can be mistaken for naivete, but it is clear that she's nobody's fool anymore. The chapters cover everything from sex to faith, and she is careful to include every bit of herself that could be helpful to other girls and young women. Including her own daughter.
The book was published by Farrah Gray Publishing, which I feel could have done a much better job on the editing, as there were missing words and some minor misspellings. There were also some times where I couldn't figure out which aunt she was referring to, or what time period we had jumped into. Overall, it was a beautiful book that I will share with the young girls in my life....more
I was very impressed with this book, but I'm sure it will be the type to get tons of reads in my library's teen room, but not actual checkouts.
I'd leaI was very impressed with this book, but I'm sure it will be the type to get tons of reads in my library's teen room, but not actual checkouts.
I'd learned of the Midwest Teen Sex Show a while back when searching for good resources to direct my teens to about sex and reproductive health. The show is almost jarringly blunt and unrestricted and the conservative in me screamed out in fear. LOL Yet, I found it extremely informative and honest. The same can be said of my experience with the book.
Nikol Hasler, founder of the Midwest Teen Sex Show teams up with doctors and other professionals to hash out this funny and blunt force course in sex and sexual health. While her wit can seem crass at first, as demonstrated especially by the bovine p0rn on the cover, as you begin to actually read, it is very easy to see how a book like this can be important for teens and even some under-experienced adults.
Hasler is even-handed in her approach towards all genders and sexual preferences. Her explanations are clear and direct, and leave absolutely nothing to chance or imagination. For this, I am grateful. So many resources about sex, especially those directed towards young people, tend to leave out the uncomfortable bits and pieces in the hopes that some parent somewhere will do the dirty work. Hasler understands that this is exactly WHY a book like hers is necessary, because parents DON'T want to have these conversations. No mom I know is about to brace the convo of anal penetration. Just isn't going to happen. And if it did, I'd be hard-pressed to find a teen who'd be comfortable listening to it.
Those are the topics that this book simply doesn't shy away from. From stimuli to fantasies and fetishes, she tells it all. Which is probably why I'm sure there will be a parent coming in to complain about it eventually. Some of her advice and information begins to come across as step-by-step instruction. For example, when one teen asks for advice on whether or not he's a pervert for wanting to try anal sex, her response starts with "The human body is a wondrous thing with many places to put a penis"...
UM..Okay.. I don't need you telling my 15 year old that, lady!
That being said, she always follows her jokes with sound information and research. She makes no qualms about the fact that while sex is a fun and natural thing, it is also a big decision, and one that no one should be pressured into or doing if they aren't sure about. She is fair and supportive of those wanting to wait or those teens feeling pressured to even pretend that they've "done it" just to avoid being teased by peers, even to the point of advising them to "come out" about being abstinent in the hopes that they'll help some other teens who want to be proud of their virginity.
If there was anything I would have changed, it would have been to address the reader with the idea that sexual health is important so that they can live the adult life they choose in regards to building a family, etc., but for what it was worth, Hasler included a great amount of valuable information.
In all, I was very pleased with the amount of good information found packed inside. Adults who are uncomfortable with open sexual dialogue presented to teens will hate this one, but teens who are curious will find it the best thing they've read in a while. I would suggest to any adult who picks it up, that they try and remember their own teenage curiosity and work backwards from there rather than reading it with "what they know now"....more
While the idea behind this book was quite practical and based in providing an honest look at college life for young women headed towards their first yWhile the idea behind this book was quite practical and based in providing an honest look at college life for young women headed towards their first year, it amounted to a shoddy product in pretty packaging. The great cover art and appealing list of contents was not adequately backed up by the work.
Some of the advice given was great. How to organize your class assignments to keep track of them, how to ask professors for extra help, and even how to talk to a messy roommate. The chapters about being active on campus and staying safe at night were good as well. Topics also included joining sororities and dating responsibly. The writing style lends itself more to a big sister cluing you in to how college works, and in that vein alone, would be appealing to teens.
There were a few issues with execution however. Run-on sentences, strange font combinations and "testimonials" that seemed to come out of nowhere in shadow-boxes were annoying and frustrating. The attempt to throw in the "S.M.A.R.T." catchphrase was also done at odd times and without good focus.
Upon a second read, I was far more impressed with the idea of the book than the actual product, which could have benefited greatly from a bit more editing and attention to detail. In all, it is a great starting point perhaps, in terms of topics and scope, though not the must-have accessory I was hoping for....more
LOVED this book. I would recommend it for adults as well because it really gave insight on what was going on aside from just Martin and Rosa, as wellLOVED this book. I would recommend it for adults as well because it really gave insight on what was going on aside from just Martin and Rosa, as well as those who refused to move to the back, even before Rosa. AND more importantly, it gives a clear account of how long the boycott actually lasted, which is something many movies and documentaries fail to instill into us....more