Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Jamaica Kincaid are all known for vividly chronicling the lives of Black women. Glory Edim’s decision to compile their works in On Girlhood, a compelling anthology that also includes contemporary writers such as Amina Gautier and Alexia Arthurs, results in a literary master class ... carefully curated ... The collection captures the wide spectrum of Black girlhood, reminding readers that Blackness is not monolith. These experiences may have similarities, but cultural differences play a role in how Black girls are raised and see the world, especially in the United States ... a strong collection that delves into the various ways that Black girls love, the way they hate, the way they respond to pressure, the way they respond to parents and, perhaps most important, the way they respond to society. The one common thread through these stories is that each of the protagonists struggles with her Blackness because of how she is perceived by the outside world and the people with whom she interacts. Some of the stories are told through the lens of childhood, while others are explored through motherhood and marriage. But they all pull back the curtain on what it is like to grow up as Black and female.
Several questions that may be used to prompt the reader’s curiosity and understanding follow each story, and they are useful. The brief biographies and a list of other works for each writer also help establish a framework and timeline for the stories. InOn Girlhood, Glory Edim identifies pieces of literature meant to show Black girls --- and every other reader --- possibilities for living.
15 striking tales about girlhood, a theme of deep and universal resonance given profoundly illuminating specificity by the Black women writers Edim showcases ... Here are established and incandescent writers Toni Cade Bambara, Jamaica Kincaid, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison, whose only published short story is a revelation, along with thrillingly eruptive, scorching, and hilarious stories by Camille Acker, Alexia Arthurs, and Shay Youngblood. Replete with lively author profiles, Further Reading, and Discussion Questions, this is a remarkably vital, revealing, and sustaining literary gathering.