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

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,413 ratings  ·  174 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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4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,413 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I first saw Surpassing Certainty on a display table at a bookstore last year and skimmed the synopsis. My interest was piqued but I had no idea who Janet Mock was and didn’t bother to investigate. Not until I purchased this book and began reading it nearly a year later, did I learn who she is - a writer, who previously worked at People, a transgender woman, and a transgender rights activist.

She wrote another book, Redefining Realness which I was also unfamiliar with (and have not read). While I
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
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
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
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.
Mary McDonough
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I am glad it was written. IMO there aren't enough autobiographies written by trans people, and the ones that do exist are about trans-ness, when clearly there is also so much more to each trans person's story. This book is about Janet and her first marriage, and her first job in the publishing industry, and her brushes with racism in publishing.

I hope readers of her first book also pick this book up.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, memoir
a second memoir in the span of three years might be considered indulgent. then again, memoirs from trans writers are undeniably underrepresented on history's bookshelf. I am grateful to read trans stories that document love, complexity, triumph and joy in the writer's life while refusing the narrative that trans lives equate tragedy.

at first I didn't know why I was reading this book. it read like an itinerary of important milestones and their adherent feelings, a statement of facts to devour qu
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
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
Nicole Gathany
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read Janet's first memoir and love her to death, but didn't think I would read her second memoir because a friend said it was much of the same.

I ended up reading it for a black feminist book club I frequent and I can tell you it's not the same story! There are new people, new loves, new experiences.

I loved this book. I read it in one day which I can't say for everything I read. Other than her hat tilts to womanist like Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Zora Neale Hurston, my favorite thing abo
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
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mock does a wonderful job of discussing her tumultuous twenties: romantic entanglements (cheating, drama, marriage, drama), her ambitious goals (New York! Publishing!), and a lot of the growing up she does between 20 and 30. Her identity as a trans woman plays into a lot of this, but ultimately she is dealing with what everyone else in their twenties deals with... figuring out who you are and what you want out of life. She's pretty straightforward about her actions, good and bad, and I appreciat ...more
Jordan Rubenstein
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, trans
In another fantastic memoir by Janet Mock, she shares intimate details of her journey to adulthood. Her vulnerability and the breadth of her experiences are inspirational, and her writing makes this book an easy read and a new personal favorite.

I recommend reading her first memoir first, Redefining Realness, where she introduces her story starting with her childhood. The two memoirs flow nicely for anyone reading both, but can also each stand on their own as powerful narratives.

Janet Mock share
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
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not really an audiobook person but I have discovered that I enjoy audiobooks where the author reads their own memoir. Janet Mock's voice is very soothing and she tells her story with grace, self-reflection, eloquence, and courage. I'm glad I listened to it. Not much more to say because it feels weird to critique a memoir as it's about how someone chooses to share their story and I want to respect that.
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.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Toward the end of this book I started getting so emotional because I’m also about to move to NYC to Do Things™ and live my life. Perfect timing for me to read this one! ...more
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.
William Blake
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Janet's voice and how empowering her journey is through life and then through her word.
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 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Janet Mock is without a doubt a natural born storyteller. She proved it with her first book and she did again with the follow-up. She just has a way with words and pulls you right in into her world!
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.
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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
“No one can heal you. You must learn to be your own company, your own cure. You cannot retreat into someone else for fulfillment.” 6 likes
“GENERATIONS OF GIRLS HAVE been told that the only way they can survive is to remain silent, go unnoticed and blend in.” 1 likes
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