Books by Muslim Authors, Non Fiction Books

Our Stories, Our Voices Anthology edited by Amy Reed – Book Review

This book is an anthology of essays all about female empowerment and the authors experience of living as a woman in America. I was really excited about this book and I love reading books about female empowerment, both fiction and non-fiction.

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Rating: 4/5

Here is what the book is about taken from Goodreads:

From Amy Reed, Ellen Hopkins, Amber Smith, Sandhya Menon, and more of your favorite YA authors comes an anthology of essays that explore the diverse experiences of injustice, empowerment, and growing up female in America.
This collection of twenty-one essays from major YA authors—including award-winning and bestselling writers—touches on a powerful range of topics related to growing up female in today’s America, and the intersection with race, religion, and ethnicity. Sure to inspire hope and solidarity to anyone who reads it, Our Stories, Our Voices belongs on every young woman’s shelf.
This anthology features essays from Martha Brockenbrough, Jaye Robin Brown, Sona Charaipotra, Brandy Colbert, Somaiya Daud, Christine Day, Alexandra Duncan, Ilene Wong (I.W.) Gregorio, Maurene Goo, Ellen Hopkins, Stephanie Kuehnert, Nina LaCour, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sandhya Menon, Hannah Moskowitz, Julie Murphy, Aisha Saeed, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Amber Smith, and Tracy Walker.

It’s really hard to decide what to say about an anthology because there are essentially 21 different essays by different authors and each are unique. But as a general overview this anthology was generally good, I did really enjoy the book and some essays stood out more than others. I think it will be subjective to each of us and our experiences as which essays will resonate with us more.

Some of my favourite essays were by Sandhya Menon, Amy Reed, Aisha Saeed, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sona Charaipotra, Alexandra Duncan and Maureen Goo. These are the stories I resonated with most. I saw a part of me and things I’ve faced in them. And they were really powerful essays for me.

I especially related to the essays that spoke about being a POC and not fitting in because of the colour of your skin or your religion. The assumptions that are made about you because of what you wear, in my case a hijab. People have thought I can’t speak English and are shocked when they learn that I am a physiotherapist or that I run an etsy shop. I’ve been spat at and scared to walk home from school after attending an after school club. So I could really understand what these authors were saying in their essays. From becoming defensive and unable to articulate what you want to say to just wishing that you wouldn’t have to feel afraid of going outside. I remember my parents not wanting me to wear a hijab as it would make me a target.

Okay so that was my personal experience and how I related to these stories. And I know that each one of us will see ourselves in a different essay depending on what our experiences have been growing up.

These essays made me feel angry, sad and it made me feel as though I am not alone and that if us women stood together we can make a difference. They are empowering and give you strength and I really loved that about them.

I think my main issue with the book was that it became very repetitive by the end especially if you read several essays in one go like I did. It became hard for me to differentiate between each authors essays. This isn’t to say that the essays were bad but that it may work better if you read a couple at a time instead of reading them all one after the other. Each essay is different but I think this book is experienced better when read slowly over several days.

I would definitely recommend everyone to read this book as it deals with very important issues especially with everything that is happening in the world at the moment.

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