Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In Search of Our Mother's Gardens, by Alice Walker: a review by Cole [50BPT]

Today's entry comes from a friend from school, Cole. Thanks Cole!

Cole will graduate this year from Kenyon College with a degree in English/Creative Writing and Women's and Gender Studies. She focuses her energy towards issues of gender and race in rural and agricultural areas, especially in the American South.

In Search of Our Mother's Gardens, by Alice Walker

This book may be over-cited by white women trying to prove that they are culturally sensitive, but that doesn’t detract from the innate value of this text, which deserves a high place on a list of relevant books for problematic times. We live in a time when most people (and almost all people with cultural or political influence) believe that feminism is irrelevant and outdated, and have likely never even heard of womanism. My personal belief is that our generation thinks feminism is irrelevant partly because we have grasped (at least indirectly) the complexities of living in a multi-media, multi-cultural world, and feminism’s evolution for the past two decades has taken place mostly in the academy, not on the street. In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens does not feel outdated or irrelevent, as many 1st- or 2nd- wave feminist texts might seem to mainstream readers. Walker’s writing is blunt and sensitive all at once; she wanders between her personal history and our collective cultural history, honoring Zora Neale Hurston and both praising and critiquing Flannery O’Connor. White readers may be a few decades late in approaching Our Mothers' Gardens, but this book is in need of a wider reputation today because it functions as a gateway for modern readers into a more sophisticated theory of culture, gender, and justice.
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  1. Great post and a wonderful book! I wish more feminists would read this -- especially the ones who want to understand womanism. What better way to wrap your mind around the brilliance that is Alice Walker than to read her nonfiction? I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

  2. Alice Walker inspires me more than any author I have ever read.


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