by inga muscio (Emeryville CA: Seal Press, 2005)
Usually when I read books of personal essays, I don't start at the beginning and work straight through to the end, I skip around in them and dig out things I like. I did that with Inga Muscio's previous book, Cunt; but this book pulled me straight through very fast from beginning to end. It's well-written, fresh, full of different tales and varied approaches to telling the stories; yet there's a logic that builds from chapter to chapter and becomes very convincing. The theme is that a young woman from a not-terribly-privileged white background who is open to others and desires social change learns from both her experiences and her research, not only that there is racism in her society and that it is much deeper and more serious than she imagined, but also how it has put its tentacles into her own mind and behaviour. To me, this is a book about working to overthrow colonization of racist ideas in a person's own brain. Yet it's never too heavy, always giving you that breath of poetry or narration or whatever it takes to keep you hanging in. Very interesting and valuable and refreshing book.