RaveThe Chicago Review of BooksRembert’s memoir is not just a lens through which we can view American history; at its heart it is a love story ... documents racial and economic violence under white supremacy as a living history. It also gives us an example of how to live without bitterness or seeking revenge. From Rembert’s abandonment by his birth mother to the forced labor on the cotton fields and the abuses of the prison wardens, he remembers his struggle with acceptance, forgiveness, and often gratitude for the lessons he learned from his mistakes ... He was never going to outrun his blackness in Jim Crow or even in post-Civil Rights America, in the South or the North. Instead, he picked up some tools and paints and changed the arc of his story, placing black history at the center of it, transforming hate and humiliation into love and forgiveness.
RaveThe Chicago Review of BooksFebos layers research from historical, literary, and cultural texts within her personal narratives––a technique familiar to readers of her other books––to deepen and enrich Girlhood’s ambitious aims to define the creation of gender within the patriarchy ... Febos not only offers herself a new playbook, scrutinizing the assumptions she has placed upon herself, she also examines how our culture prizes the narratives of boys over girls, often erasing the girl altogether in favor of a more understandable story. By looking at the social and cultural context in which we become women, this multileveled narrative affirms that our shared attitudes and beliefs about girls and the women we expect them to become are more important than whatever benefits we gain by denying and distorting them. Girlhood offers the plausibility that on the other side of personal and collective awareness lies the choice to play a different game.