Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement

Flatiron. Sept. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781250621733. $28.99. MEMOIR
With this debut book, Burke writes an important memoir that powerfully illustrates a deeply personal political movement and shows how hashtags and social media can amplify the reiterative yet individual tragedies that are perpetuated by systems and by individuals emboldened by those systems. Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement, specifically describes here how she felt as she watched the movement be co-opted by white women in 2017. The memoir begins with powerful imagery that evokes Maya Angelou’s caged bird and ends with an allusion to Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide; Burke here joins in a tradition of poem–prose hybrid memoirs and captures the fragmentary nature of voice as it butts up against structures that would silence it. Burke blends the personal and the political and recounts her upbringing in the Bronx, including her difficulty in school and her experience of sexual violence before she even had the words to describe it; this makes for vital reading.
VERDICT Painful and personal, yet beautiful and necessary, this book deserves to be read for its political significance and literary merit. Burke’s writing shines when she describes finding her voice as an aspiring activist.
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