4 out of 4 stars
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DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland is a non-fiction book written by Judy Juanita. The author–an American poet, playwright, and novelist–uses this book to tell the story of women who rose beyond the debilitating states of their tumultuous lives, ‘making a way out of no way, and nurturing those who have been forgotten or discarded.’ Some of the themes in this book are racism, poverty, family life, religion, and mysticism.
The author begins by telling the story of her childhood life, staying in Oakland, California. She paints the picture of how racism had taken root in the region, and how joining the Black Panther Party during her college days helped her to envision viability in revitalizing and connecting to her community rather than fleeing in the mainstream, corporate America. The author also tells the story of women who could hustle too hard, even to the extent of breaking the law, just to make both ends meet for their families. Besides, the author looks at various female authors such as Carolyn M Rodgers, Sonia Sanchez, and Ntozake Shange who paved the way for the black arts out of their 'literary courage.' On the other hand, there is part toward the end of the book that deals with mysticism. Peter Thorpe, a playwright who recently died, makes psychic visitations to Faith (pen name). I enjoyed the ‘trilogue’ that ensued thereafter.
This book is well-structured, well-written, and skillfully organized. In particular, I liked how it was formatted as it was appealing to the eyes, and this created in me a good impression of the book that lasted throughout my reading experience. Also, it takes the forms of poems, essays, and letters (emails). I liked this diversity as it broke for me the monotony usually brought about by one writing method. Citations of the works of a renown medium, Allison DuBois, and a link to a website containing information about psychic powers, may also appeal to readers who are fascinated by mysticism.
What I liked the most in this book was the part that was dealing with the mystic powers. I was appalled by the things Faith was capable of doing when in a trance-like state. For instance, she was able to teach intuitively without using any book and, also, cook and bake from scratch having had no prior knowledge in the area. Since I'm not well-conversant with how psychic powers operate, this part heightened my curiosity in the book as well as mesmerizing me. It is also in this section of the book that I was engrossed the most to the extent of barely noticing the passing of time.
All in all, there is nothing I disliked about this book. It was exceptionally edited since I did not find any typographical or grammatical errors. I'm, therefore, glad to award DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland by Judy Juanita 4 out of 4 stars. The story is both inspiring and educative. I highly recommend it to readers who would like to know about the history of how the black arts evolved. Also, it may appeal to those who are fascinated by mystic powers.
DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland
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