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Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me
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Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,050 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
Riveting, rousing, and utterly real, Surpassing Certainty is a portrait of a young woman searching for her purpose and place in the world—without a road map to guide her.

The journey begins a few months before her twentieth birthday. Janet Mock is adjusting to her days as a first-generation college student at the University of Hawaii and her nights as a dancer at a strip cl
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Atria Books
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Jessica Woodbury
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you read REDEFINING REALNESS, you'll be happy to find that Mock's second memoir is even better: warmer, deeper, and in many ways more personal. This is a good book for anyone in their 20's, the story here is one we often skip over when we talk about the narrative of people's lives, how your early attempts at personhood and independence shape you.

Mock is able to explore a wide array of experiences but always keeps you emotionally connected to her. She explores desire and being desired, when a
Lindsay Love
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are absolutely no words to express how much I loved this book. I loved Redefining Realness. But Surpassing Certainty really spoke to me as a black woman still trying to be seen and heard.
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good, bad, or indifferent - Mock writes with an authenticity and bravery that few can match. To read the rest of this review and to see an interview with Janet Mock and Francesca Ramsey CLICK HERE.
I first heard about Mock when she appeared on Chelsea Weekly on Netflix, I made note of her book but didn't really get around to really researching it. Fast forward to July and I saw all over my twitter the boycott of The Breakfast Club- again Mock name came up. It was then I read an article she wrote specifically about the boycott, and it is through that article I found out she is transgendered, with that said, I decided it was time I give this book a read.

I have to say, I was impressed with M
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Certainly, it's always interesting to read about something that's new to you, and I haven't read anything else yet about someone's transgender journey. Mock writes well too. My qualm with this book is that Mock doesn't seem to accept or own up to her own part in major events in her life. The easiest example involves the manner in which she discusses her romance and eventual marriage to her first husband. Perhaps I should have started with her first memoir, but this one had been recommended by a ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was not as good a read as her first book. It may be because I'm in my thirties and this memoir chronicles her twenties, or maybe because Redefining Realness taught me so much and really endeared her to me. Either way, while this was well written, it was kind of boring.
Ed Center
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I ignored my two kids, work responsibilities, and the desire to binge The Crown and finished Janet Mock's memoir in three days. It was riveting. Her storytelling style is accessible (the pages turn quickly) and she is honest and sincere without sentimentality. I grew up in Hawaii, and so I enjoyed her references to strip clubs, food joints and beaches that I frequented. But I realized I knew little about trans experience or native Hawaiian perspectives on non-binary gender.

I most appreciated he
Cristal Hummingbird
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
4.5 Stars

This was so good!

I've been listening to Janet Mock's Surpassing Certainty over the past day, and I found any spare moment to press play. This is her second biography and I need her to keep living her life, because her memories make the best stories. I know, I sound like an insufferable gossip feeding off other people's lives, but I don't just watch anyone, I watch the interesting ones, and Mock is a very interesting one.

I loved Mock's first bio, Redefining Realness , but I adored Surpa
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, my-audiobooks
Another amazing book from Janet Mock! Do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook. It's so much better hearing her tell her story.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
i did not want this book to end! it is a mostly breezy, sometimes touching, and inviting read, with Janet Mock's warmth and resilience shining through the writing. this story of self-discovery and coming into oneself is a lovely tribute to loves of many kinds, to revealing our truths and to spiritual and emotional risk-taking. also to the confusion and heartache and growing pains of our twenties, which as painful as they are, have their place in shaping us and propelling us into our dreams. i wa ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had no idea what to expect from "Surpassing Certainty," but Janet Mock exceeded all of my expectations. Mock's second memoir didn't teach about her trans-ness. Instead, she explored the difficulties of navigating the world in your 20s, a decade I'm knee-deep in the throes of. She explores being a first generation graduate student, stripping to provide for herself and her family, marrying a man she loves and learning love is more than a lifetime commitment, moving to New York, and navigating pu ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Mock's second memoir of her coming out process as a trans woman is just as great as, if not better than, her first book (Redefining Realness). If you have not read Redefining Realness, I strongly suggest you start there.

Janet Mock is an extraordinary woman with a highly colorful journey, full of obstacles and accomplishments. I enjoyed listening to her read the book in her rich, creamy voice.

I felt a little sorry for Troy. He simply could not keep up with
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
A quick and enjoyable memoir from Janet Mock in which she details her growing up and meeting her first husband in Hawaii, her move to New York for graduate school and work as a magazine editor, and the end of her marriage. She is straightforward in her writing and reflects on the many things she learned, not just pertaining to her career and marriage but also colorism within the black community, racism and sexism in the workforce, "disclosing" oneself as a trans individual, and more. I don't fee ...more
Heather F
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I LOVED Redefining Realness, so I was eager to read this book. While Mock's first book showed the struggles of a young trans woman, this book just sort of disjointedly jumps around her twenties. Mock is such al lauded figure that I expected more growth and character development than took place in this book.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another beautiful memoir by Janet Mock. This time she goes into her 20s and talks about the beginnings of her career, her first marriage, and confiding her truth to her friends. She always rights straight from the heart and it's like sitting down with a good friend.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: people
The messages were deep and thoughtful but the writing was not in the style I like to read. At times I felt that she went on tangents.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Will always wanna hear what Janet Mock has to say! Found her first book more interesting but loved this one too!
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Couldn’t put it down. Janet Mock is so lovely.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked Mock's first book a lot; this one didn't match up. Maybe it's because I've been reading a lot of books about the 20 somethings, but her journey didn't resonate much with me. Maybe if I had read this at 22.
Brian Tofte-Schumacher
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fav-non-fiction
May 2017 be remembered as the year when, instead of dragging myself to any of the festivities celebrating Saturday of Pride weekend, I sat in a park devouring the second half of Surpassing Certainty. Though I was alone, reading Janet Mock's work always makes me feel as if she is speaking directly to me, animating details of the kinds of stories most of us only share with our best friends.

I am grateful for Mock's writing not only for the feelings she evokes with her writing, but for the history s
Mei Y
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who enjoy reading memoirs about LGBTIQA community
An amazing book to read that is well written and comes from the heart. An insight into Janet Mocks years in her 20's makes you want to read more.
Katherine Long
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such beautiful writing and insights by such an honest women, I can't sing the praises for her enough. Definitely read her first memoir "Redefining Realness" first just so you have a better understanding of everything that came before and influenced her 20s. Her courage in honesty just floors me. This book, just like her last one, is narrated by her and she does a stellar job. Then go check out her podcast funny and interesting. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brings Me to Tears..

Janet Mock is a phenomenal woman who was able to so perfectly capture what it feels like to be a young woman in your twenties. The confusion, the mistakes, the laughter, the love, the GROWTH. All of this makes my heart swell with knowing that better times are to come.

Thank you, Janet xo
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good, but honestly a little boring. And I love that a story of a trans woman of color is mundane. I look forward to a future where the successes of trans women of color can be taken for granted.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Surpassing Certainty was exactly what I expected. First, I love Janet Mock’s writing style. It’s clear she loves journalism. She writes short but concise sentences and knows how to set up a scene. Second, this book is a necessary read for anyone trying to figure out the mess that is being a 20something. We know from Redefining Realness, Mock was always a determined person driven by a desire to actualize her own vision of herself and her life. This second memoir gives us a closer look at her jour ...more
Katrina Sark
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
“And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you fill find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party… And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking the truth. And that is not speaking.” (Audre Lorde)

Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I loved her first book. This one fell flat for me. It felt like she was just embellishing journal entries a little bit, which is fine, but learn to cut out the superfluous stuff to your story. It just felt like a lot of ruminations about different people from her early 20s, lovers and friends. Her section on being a WOC in the fashion magazine industry was interesting, and some of her thoughts on heartbreak resonated with me, but that was kind of it.
Tiarah Flores
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
To be honest I did not think I would be very interested in this book when I first started it. But it turns out I absolutely loved it and can't wait to read her book Redefining Realness.
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe she wrote another memoir that fast. I've read Redefining Realness and I fell in love with her, with Hawaii, with her writing, with her journey, and with her newfound self. My question that seemed to be what every reader of her first book was upon discovering she's releasing a new book: "uh-oh, she wrote another memoir? What could she possibly tell on this one?" The gap between the first book and this one is too short to be honest but I really loved the first one so I postponed re ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Not as good as the first book. 'Redefining Realness' (Mock's first book) was an excellent read, so it was exciting to see that she had a new book coming out. I've had the book for a while but it seemed like an especially timely read. 
The book is what it says on the cover: a memoir of her twenties as she enters the world of adulthood, goes to college, embarks on a number of romantic relationships and looks for herself and her career. There are ups and downs (an overarching theme of the book is h
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Janet Mock is a writer, TV host and advocate whose work has appeared in Marie Claire, The New Yorker, and Lenny. With a Masters in journalism from New York University, the Honolulu native worked as an editor at, produced HBO’s The Trans List, hosted a series of specials for MSNBC, and appeared on OWN’s Super Soul Sunday. Oprah Winfrey has called her a “fearless new voice” and “trailblaz ...more
More about Janet Mock

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“No one can heal you. You must learn to be your own company, your own cure. You cannot retreat into someone else for fulfillment.” 5 likes
“We have continuity in our bodies, which hold experiences that never leave us, experiences our bodies conceal so we can keep going. They hold tightly to them - until we have confidence to trust our bodies again, to loosen their grasp.” 1 likes
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