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I'm Every Woman: Remixed Stories of Marriage, Motherhood, and Work

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Black women have been balancing the competing demands of work and home since before women even won the right to vote. But black voices and experiences are barely acknowledged in the mainstream "mommy wars" dialogue. Lonnae O'Neal Parker is about to change all that, in this uncommonly smart and often witty examination -- part memoir, part reportage -- of how today's black w Black women have been balancing the competing demands of work and home since before women even won the right to vote. But black voices and experiences are barely acknowledged in the mainstream "mommy wars" dialogue. Lonnae O'Neal Parker is about to change all that, in this uncommonly smart and often witty examination -- part memoir, part reportage -- of how today's black women meet the challenges of marriage, motherhood, and work. On the surface, Parker has the ideal life: she's a reporter for the Washington Post and has three adorable children and a doting husband. Yet behind the perfect persona is a woman on the verge of a breakdown from the stresses of trying to have it all. Only a pantheon of voices -- from spectral slave women and ancestors who speak to her across time to her favorite pop cultural icons -- keeps her sane and helps her to navigate the complex waters of being a woman in the modern world. With an intelligence and range that recalls Anne Lamott and Paula Giddings, Parker proves herself not only a welcome addition to the ongoing discussion of race and gender in America but an astute cultural critic.


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Black women have been balancing the competing demands of work and home since before women even won the right to vote. But black voices and experiences are barely acknowledged in the mainstream "mommy wars" dialogue. Lonnae O'Neal Parker is about to change all that, in this uncommonly smart and often witty examination -- part memoir, part reportage -- of how today's black w Black women have been balancing the competing demands of work and home since before women even won the right to vote. But black voices and experiences are barely acknowledged in the mainstream "mommy wars" dialogue. Lonnae O'Neal Parker is about to change all that, in this uncommonly smart and often witty examination -- part memoir, part reportage -- of how today's black women meet the challenges of marriage, motherhood, and work. On the surface, Parker has the ideal life: she's a reporter for the Washington Post and has three adorable children and a doting husband. Yet behind the perfect persona is a woman on the verge of a breakdown from the stresses of trying to have it all. Only a pantheon of voices -- from spectral slave women and ancestors who speak to her across time to her favorite pop cultural icons -- keeps her sane and helps her to navigate the complex waters of being a woman in the modern world. With an intelligence and range that recalls Anne Lamott and Paula Giddings, Parker proves herself not only a welcome addition to the ongoing discussion of race and gender in America but an astute cultural critic.

39 review for I'm Every Woman: Remixed Stories of Marriage, Motherhood, and Work

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danika

    I picked this book up after a reference to it in an article I read recently. I didn't expect to make it through the whole book, but was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The author is a Washington Post reporter and the book is structured as a series of essays on balancing work and being a mom. I resonated with quite a few of her viewpoints on motherhood. Her main point is that women of color are largely outside the "mommy wars" that white, middle-class women are waging (the stay-at-home vs. worki I picked this book up after a reference to it in an article I read recently. I didn't expect to make it through the whole book, but was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The author is a Washington Post reporter and the book is structured as a series of essays on balancing work and being a mom. I resonated with quite a few of her viewpoints on motherhood. Her main point is that women of color are largely outside the "mommy wars" that white, middle-class women are waging (the stay-at-home vs. working-mom divide). A refreshing point of view with lots to add to the conversation.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liz DePriest

    This book changed my life. As a fairly privileged white woman trying to carve out enough time to write a dissertation, motherhood threw me for a real loop. Reading this book gave me such important insight into what I share with other moms and privileges I have that they don’t. It made me want to learn more about how I can make motherhood a more manageable experience for ALL women. I recommend this book all the time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David

    I guess I'm not the target audience for this essay series/memoir about being an African American woman/wife/mom/employee, but often I like reading personal material by someone in much different circumstances. Not much in this case, though I did finish it, and there were enough sharp or well-put observations to keep me going -- for instance, in describing her commitment to marital therapy "If you have something that would be unbearable to lose, you have to find ways to take care of it". Trying to p I guess I'm not the target audience for this essay series/memoir about being an African American woman/wife/mom/employee, but often I like reading personal material by someone in much different circumstances. Not much in this case, though I did finish it, and there were enough sharp or well-put observations to keep me going -- for instance, in describing her commitment to marital therapy "If you have something that would be unbearable to lose, you have to find ways to take care of it". Trying to put my finger on what left me feeling uninspired, I came up with: 1. She's not funny. I don't think I laughed once while reading it, which is unusual for an autobiographical piece. 2. A lot of the material is very familiar and was elaborated at excessive length (it's hard to find time for yourself when you have little kids, women are more likely to notice non-routine household tasks that need doing, Black women are uninterested in the Mommy Wars because they have always had to work outside the home). 3. She seems defensive -- no need to worry about exploiting her housekeeper because she's at least conscious of historical/cultural overtones to the relationship; it's ok to hit her kids as a discipline method because earlier generations did it more; it makes sense to ignore your kid when she's repeatedly knocking on the bathroom door because you don't get enough time to yourself. 4. It's ponderous (to me) to relate absolutely everything to race and gender and to bolster such analyses with copious direct quotes. Obviously that is the theme of the book and an important element of her view of the world, but at times it almost read like "I like apple cinnamon cheerios. You know, there's a long history of Black women liking apple cinnamon cheerios. As the actress Halle Berry said, 'apple cinnamon cheerios are great!'. Likewise, Sojourner Truth wrote, in her book Cereal Wars, that apple cinnamon cheerios sustained her."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    This Washington Post reporter's book is part black history, part memoir. Parker offers a vivid portrait of motherhood in African America like none other that I have ever read. I enjoyed the memoir portions of the book more than other parts, but that may be just because I love to read memoirs more than any other type of non-fiction. Some sections were a little slow, but overall I'm glad I read this book. This Washington Post reporter's book is part black history, part memoir. Parker offers a vivid portrait of motherhood in African America like none other that I have ever read. I enjoyed the memoir portions of the book more than other parts, but that may be just because I love to read memoirs more than any other type of non-fiction. Some sections were a little slow, but overall I'm glad I read this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Safa Brown

    Parker writes with humor and splashes of pop culture references on juggling the roles of a wife, mother and worker as a black woman. I borrowed this book from the library but I need to add it to my personal collection. If she would have left out the numerous mentions of ‘The Washington Post’, Jack and Jill, PG County, and her fabulous friends’ and their careers, it would have gotten 5 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melinda Bowman

    An enjoyable memoir with some research thrown in...and very funny. It appealed to the sociologist in me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Krissi

    It's all about the black women girlfriend!!! I love this book because, it really shows you how you can be strong. No matter what color women you are. It's all about the black women girlfriend!!! I love this book because, it really shows you how you can be strong. No matter what color women you are.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Truce

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  10. 5 out of 5

    CheeseAssasin

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liana

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dee

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dawniece

  15. 5 out of 5

    Char Reed

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shanin Brown

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

  18. 5 out of 5

    Yasamin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tselaine

  20. 4 out of 5

    LAVAHN D

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rhome Anderson

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mo Franklin

  23. 4 out of 5

    Darleen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Wilkins

  25. 4 out of 5

    Charlice

  26. 5 out of 5

    Izetta Autumn

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  31. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  32. 4 out of 5

    Kate Ditzler

  33. 5 out of 5

    Kina

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Alexander Reynolds

  35. 5 out of 5

    Kels

  36. 5 out of 5

    Emelda

  37. 4 out of 5

    Cate Stolz

  38. 4 out of 5

    Vertreace

  39. 4 out of 5

    Erin

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