Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Womanish by Kim McLarin

"Womanish: (Opp. of "girlish," ie. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, "you acting womanish," i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior... Acting grown up. Being grown up..." - From Alice Walker's Definition of a "Womanist"  from In Search of Our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose.

Author Kim McLarin offers a wide view of her life and the aspect of trying to find love through honesty and no holds bar use of words. I gathered so many amazing quotes throughout the book. I grew to understand a life that in no way would I have experienced growing up in Utah. Do I understand being teased, picked on and being different than my peers? Absolutely.  However, I did not live in a world where there was a systematic generational struggle to just been seen as an equal. I can't imagine having to deal with being a woman and being a minority at the same time. That is where this book helped me to understand the struggle that Black Women encountered as being a double minority. 

I have been told by friends that my review might not be accepted by some people because I am White. This is absurd. I can still enjoy a book no matter the color of an author's skin or the color of my skin (which by the way is a light caramel color as I have a natural tan pigment thanks to my German ancestry.)  As a reader, I can relate to what the author writes about on the whole because I am an empathetic, compassionate and educated people watcher.  My skin color in no way negates my being able to review this book.

Womanish is a handbook for rising out of the ashes and being who you are, not how people see you...

There are so many humanistic truths in this book that I had to keep re-reading to make sure I didn't miss any of the realities this book talks about. There are also so many ugly things that Ms. McLarin has gone through with her experiences of dating and "online dating" and which by reading this book has shown me to have made her stronger, and yet a tad cynical about love. I think that one of my sons would agree with her that "online dating" just sucks all the way around.

Using key quotes from other authors, motivational speakers and real-life people to reinforce her experiences are a gold mine. I especially liked Page 101 where she talks about the lies we believe about ourselves being the center of the universe from babyhood on to whenever either our parents or the world teaches us the opposite. If only all people would learn this lesson.  And still, at various times in our lives, we go back to that "lie" that we are "better than", more "special than" someone else.  This is something I agree with -- it is pure bunk no one is better than anyone else! These are things she has taught her daughter trying to break the "wrong messaging" in her head about being inferior to a majority race. It's what I taught my daughter also that she is fierce, level-headed and can make decisions based on her "truths" not what others see or think of her and still capable of understanding that others are her equals and deserve her respect.

Ms. McLarin talks about gender equality. Her discussion about the physical acts of sex and the way men and women differ in their thoughts about it was refreshing. It was to the point, hilariously ironic and overall factual. No matter what a man thinks about how sex for a woman it's all about "emotions" that is neither the sole desire or the actual truth. Give me a break women don't feel desire just for the sake of wanting sex? Right...

To be honest, did I agree with all of what was written in Womanish? No. That my friends are the joys of reading and opening up your heart to understanding. It's like communicating with a friend, you don't always agree with their views but you can still be accepting of their views as they see it and apply those things you hadn't thought about and agree with into your heart and mind which will help make your life better and your dealings with your fellow humans more meaningful.

I wish that my copy wasn't an ARC so that I could quote so many of the truths that she gives. It was an uplifting read from me although, I know that some non-Black readers will take offense to capitalization of B in black and not capitalizing W for white, which is just too bad because they will be missing the bigger story, and prove Ms. McLarin's point.

Womanish is filled with love, wisdom, truth and a residual of the ugliness that is racism and the strength of people who are trying to raise themselves up from a past filled with blockades of raising up to the equality of everyone else in the country at the same time inspiring her child to be the best of who she is and see life as it should be, not as it has been. 

Thanks to IG Publishing for the opportunity to read Womanish by Kim McLarin in lieu of my honest review. 

You can read this book now as it was released on January 22, 2019. Help the "moms and pops" of the industry to stay open... buy the book at your favorite Indie Bookseller, or if you really must buy from your local big box bookstore to keep your taxes low by supporting your local community. 
For writing quality and honest life lessons.

"My distrust of white women at work has escalated. It wasn't something that I thought about a whole lot previously, but recently I've become aware of one who smiles in my face but whom I've learned has done some serious backstabbing behind my, well, back..." 
I tend to find this, for me, to be more of a gender experience, not a racial experience as many women are caustic to other women. So I relate to what Ms. McLarin's friend is saying as I too have had that happen to me throughout my life. 

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