Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review & Contest: girlSpoken from pen, brush & tongue

A woman from a Canadian publishing company called Second Story Press recently contacted me in regards to reviewing their catalog to see if there was any novels that I would be interested in reviewing.  Second Story Press is dedicated to publishing feminist inspired books for both adult and young adult readers.  While I primarily read fiction I have a soft spot for reading inspirational true stories written by young adults.  As a Child and Youth Worker I am always awed and inspired by the resilience of today's youth and saddened by the challenges they face.  While reading the poems and stories and taking in the beautiful artwork of young women in the book girlSpoken I was inspired by their strength, their wisdom and their understanding of the challenges facing young women today.  At times I cried as I read about their life experiences; experiences no individual should have to endure.  This book is mature, honest, inspiring, raw, heart-wrenching and uplifting all at the same time.  While at times I was shocked by some of the language used in this book by young women under the age of 18 it was still reflective of today's young women and the environment we are raising them in.  We need to teach our young women strong values, open dialogue with them about self worth, encourage them to question and be willing to really listen to them and value their opinions.

I hope you will consider purchasing this novel or entering the giveaway below because the stories of the young women within the pages of girlSpoken are the stories of young women all across the world.  Let their words inspire you to be the best you can be, to help advocate for change where change is needed and to embrace the wonderful, beautiful, woman that you are today. With the publishers permission I have included a poem from the novel girlSpoken below.  It is honest, shocking and reflective of how the media is influencing the self perception of young women.  Strong and suggestive language is included.

(Note: please continue to read on after the poem for more information regarding girlSpoken and the contest details)

I am Woman

I am woman. Hear me roar.
But hang on just one second,
I have to apply some lip-gloss and fix my hair.

How do I look, sir?
Do you approve?
Am I fuckable?
Do I turn you on?

We are so many things,
With so much more to offer
Than what we allow ourselves to show.

It wouldn’t be very ladylike of us to hold our own door open.
Now, sit up straight and cover your mouth when you cough.
Smile with your teeth (not your gums) and suck in your gut.

We’re tiptoeing through this world,
Watching our steps so as not to disturb.
We’re joining the ocean of expectations,
And we’re sinking like stones.
Applying red nail polish, I cover the imperfections
With the bloodshed of all those women
Who sacrificed themselves for the right
To be a woman in man’s clothing.

Our stomachs scream for change.
We kneel over toilets and plunge our fingers down our throats,
To gain control, to purge our frustrations,
Throwing-up everything that really matters
For everything that doesn’t.

Ashamed of my hypocrisy,
I’m screaming as loud as I can,
But my own hand covers my mouth.
I complain about my thighs, my ass, my nose, and apply make-up daily.
I’m running out of air. It’s getting cold and dark in here.
Illuminate me with your experience,
And teach me how to fly.
My wings are rusty, but it’s my turn
To leave the nest and all the rest
To glide along.

So come on, girl, let’s fight.
It’s not over yet.
To every female doctor, lawyer, priest and mother,
I bow my head and thank you for the inspiration.
Talk to me, women.
I’m ready and willing to listen.
Don’t be ashamed of your age,
Be proud of your wisdom.
Because you, me, she
Are choking on magazine advertisements.
We’re being poisoned by the ink
That sinks into our bodies,
That’s programming us with
“21 ways to please your man? & “15 steps to a firmer stomach.”

To all women with whom I’ve been blessed to converse,
I say this:
There is hope. It’s never to late.
If you just open your eyes and see that we have so much to offer this world –
You and me.
For, I am woman. Hear me roar
(as I sneak into the bathroom and kneel on the floor).
                                                                Caitlin Hutt, 18
                                                                (page 95-97 girlSpoken)

Title: girlSpoken from pen, brush & tongue
Author: Numerous
Publisher: Second Story Press
Published: October 31, 2007
Format: Trade Paperback ($19.95 CDN)

From the Publisher:

From pen, brush, and tongue, girls and young women (ages 13-19) speak their truths, tell it like it is, and call for change. This collection of creative works is an exploration of young women's identities, self-expression and voice. Their voices are quirky and flirtatious, strong and adventurous, outraged and scared —and often are searching for truth. Taken collectively, the girls pieces read like a whispered conversation between friends. The contributors want to tell other girls that they are not alone in what they're experiencing as they navigate adolescence. Each contributor invites you into a piece of her life.

Giveaway Details: Thank you very much to Second Story Press for offering a copy of this novel as a giveaway on my blog!


Katelyn said...

Thanks for the contest, this sounds like a great read!

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