Book Review: My Sisters’ Voices: Teenage Girls of Color Speak Out
by Iris Jacob
Publication Date: Apr 03, 2002
List Price: $21.99
Format: Paperback, 246 pages
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
Imprint: Holt Paperbacks
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
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Book Reviewed by Linda Watkins
"And special thanks go to all those individuals who follow me in stores, call me derogatory and offensive names, and keep me from doing and achieving what I want to do; you all help me stay dedicated to and focused on social change."
The complex issue of acceptance for persons of ethnic heritage has been the center of many controversial debates. Most people feel the need to sweep it under the carpet and forget it exists but in, "My Sisters' Voices," Iris Jacob, an eighteen-year old, biracial, writer, lays it in the middle of the floor and steps on it. Using witty, thought-provoking and poignant writing to underscore and support her views, Ms. Jacob introduces us to the personal struggle she has endured to find her place in a sometimes-cruel society.
Determined to make peace with her biracial identity, Jacob attacks the stereotypical myth of, 'just being a girl of color' with a collection of candid and raw short stories and poems from teenage girls of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and biracial backgrounds.
Their unharnessed cries for their mothers, fathers, relatives, homelands and social change flowed into each story, carrying me deep into this special world of sadness. I read with eager eyes Ms. Jacob's astonishing preludes to each story that detailed the heartache and pain that many of these young girls suffered inside themselves.
Many of the poems reflected a quest for acceptance, and some stories were more light-hearted than the others. But, it was evident in some that the writers reserved strong feelings for the hate and rejection they receive from life. I especially liked the poem written in Spanish and translated to English. It added a nice touch of diversity and divergence.
And, when you interview a potential employee who speaks with horrendous ebonics dripping from their mouth, it may not be a signal for "uneducated". It may just be an act of pure defiance
There were a few stories that I found humorous. In an attempt to deal with racial injustice, one of the featured writers finds emotional relief when her white co-worker stands up for her and exposes a deceitful method of getting her point across to a prejudiced customer. So, watch out for the accidentally spilled cups of coffee you receive in the future. And, when you interview a potential employee who speaks with horrendous ebonics dripping from their mouth, it may not be a signal for "uneducated". It may just be an act of pure defiance.
The paramount understanding one should expect to receive from reading, "My Sisters' Voices," is that all people deserve respect in regard to their color, culture or upbringing.
Ms. Jacob can feel assured that her passionate and inspiring collection is a must read for all girls coming of age. Jacob's insight and dedication to educate her peers, and the entire world, are found between the pages of "My Sisters' Voices." An added bonus is that Jacobs, by compiling this courageous book, has opened the door for many young and deserving voices to be heard. There is no disappointment in that. The more voices speaking the truth, the merrier!