Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Possessing the Secret of Joy

Written by: Alice Walker

First line: I did not realize for a long time that I was dead.

Why you should read this book: Tashi, sometimes known as Evelyn, is an Olinkan girl who marries an American missionary boy and straddles the two continents with difficulty, for Tashi carries with her always taboo knowledge that cannot be discussed: the pain of "bathing," or female circumcision, which killed her beloved sister, and deadens her own soul, but without which she believed she could never be accepted as a woman among her own people. Told in a series of very short vignettes narrated by Tashi, her friends, her family, and those people whose love touches her life, this story is a powerful revelation about misogyny and strength, mythology and reality. In dissecting Tashi's journey, Walker opens the reader's eyes to ways in which unexamined beliefs can crush a society, even as individuals embrace as inevitable the terrible outcomes of their choices.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You're still angry over the loss of your foreskin.

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