The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation by Jodie Patterson
Published: January 29, 2019
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genres: memoir, LGBTQIA+, feminism,
Rating: 4 stars
Recommend to fans of: learning about a family’s journey through learning from and educating for their trans kid, the LGBTQIA+ community, brave powerful women
Foodie Vibes: Southern cooking
As an African American growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the 1970s, when neighborhoods defined people, Jodie Patterson learned early on to engage with her community for strength and comfort. But then in 2009 this mother of five had her world turned upside down. Realizing that her definition of community wasn’t wide enough for her own child’s needs, Patterson forced the world wide open.
In The Bold World, we witness a mother reshaping her attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of her community, to meet the needs of her transgender son, Penelope– and opening the minds of everyone in her family who absolutely, unequivocally refused to conform.
As we walk alongside Patterson on her journey, we meet the Southern women who came before her–the mother, grandmothers, and aunts who raised and fortified her, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. She shares her family’s history–particularly incidents within the Black community around sexism, racism, and civil rights. We learn about her children, who act as a vehicle for Jodie Patterson’s own growth and acceptance of her diverse family, and her experiences as a wife, mother, and, eventually, activist. The result is an intimate portrait and an exquisite study in identity, courage, and love. Patterson’s relentless drive to change the world will resonate with and inspire us all, reflecting our own individual strength and tenacity, our very real fears, and, most of all, our singular ability to transform despite the odds.
Thank you to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Jodie Patterson for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.
- Hearing all of the author’s life lessons learned through there personal experiences, from friends and family, and through parenting
- The power of the Black Panther Movement for her
- Discussions of power
- Representation: trans boy in a black family
- The overall journey of her son and learning to be a part of the trans community
- The life lesson: to define yourself or the world will; distance yourself from anyone who said you need to be anyone other than yourself
- Her overall continual journey of personal growth
- The message that trans people don’t need to change their names, bodies, clothes, hormones, etc. to be considered a certain gender, or even need to identify with a gender, but they may choose to do so if it feels right to them
- Once someone refers to Penelope as not a real boy, if I remember correctly. I’m not sure who said it or what their intentions were, but still …
- Her father’s harsh way of parenting
- There was a little less about her childhood. While there were lots of great life lessons, it became a little long winded at times.
Overall, a good comprehensive memoir about the author’s life, journey through personal growth, advocacy and learning bout her son’s life as a trans boy.
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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)