Reviews

#NotYourPrincess

Editor: Lisa Charleyboy, Mary Beth Leatherdale

33215514

Publisher: Annick Press

Publication Date: 12. September 2017

Rating: 5./5. Stars

Diversity: PoC (Native American)

TW: abuse, rape, alcoholism, forced sterilization, suicide, domestic violence, depression, genocide, colonization, kidnapping, racism

Summary: Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

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Order here: amazon

Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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This book is a compilation of short stories, poems, quotes, artworks and photographs by Native American Women. While there aren’t a lot of stories in this book (this book is actually quite short and if all the empty pages were taken out I don’t think there would be more than 80 pages or even less. At times I understood why there had to be an empty page, some of the artwork seems like it was designed to be spread across two pages, but this only works for a physical book, not really for the e-book I read.) those that are in there are really emotional and amazing.

In this book Native American Women are given a voice. They are allowed to talk about their intergenerational trauma, about their present day pain under white supremacy, racism, and the patriarchy, about their hopes and dreams. As I follow a few Native American Activists on twitter, I already knew of some of the present-day problems that hurt Native Americans, but with this book, the struggles got an even more personal side.

Trigger warnings for abuse (sexual, emotional, physical), rape, alcoholism, forced sterilization, suicide, domestic violence, depression, genocide, colonization, kidnapping and racism

This book is really heartbreaking, even though it is so short. The writing is really well done and I also enjoyed the artwork a lot. My favorite stories were:

  • Reclaiming Indigenous Women’s Rights by Nahanni Fontaine, an essay about what it means to be an Indigenous Women. The artwork with this short essay is gorgeous and it gave insight into how intergenerational trauma affects Native American Women.
  • A Tale of Two Winonas by Winona Linn, a comic about forced marriage and suicide, delving into what names might mean.
  • Honor Song by Gwen Benaway, a poem that feels a lot like a prayer, exploring what it means to be a woman and how to reclaim that.
  • Real NDNZ by Pamela J. Peters, a photo series where Native American actors recreate classic portraits of movie stars. This showcases how few Native American actors one sees in Media and how there’s even less that are portrayed in a positive light.

I also really loved the quotes by Native American Women in this book. They are very raw and real, mention problems of Native American Women, but also give hope.

I don’t want to punish the authors with a bad rating, just because the format was off. I also had an ARC, so maybe that was partly at fault. I have high hopes that this story will be better when in physical form. However, I hope there will also quite a lot of editing done on the e-book as well so it will be readable if there even is an e-book available.

All in all, I think this was an amazing book and I can certainly only recommend it to everyone, who wants to read about Native American Women and hear their stories in their own words.

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