Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower

St. Martin's. Feb. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9781250112576. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250112897. MEMOIR
OrangeReviewStarAmerican history and pop culture are put under a keen lens in this astute memoir. Cooper, cofounder of the Crunk Feminist Collective, traces her relationship with the concept of feminism, from a young skeptic to an outspoken advocate. This journey is not easy; the scholar documents her rural Louisiana upbringing in which the vibrancy of black womanhood at home jockeyed with the experiences of racism, sexism, and classism in school, with friends, and at church; the misogynist leanings of mainstream Christianity are a steady undercurrent through her grapplings with feminism. Deftly blending the conversational tone of a memoir with pointed critique, Cooper offers a comprehensive and accessible analysis of topics from the Bible to pop music to U.S. politics past and present. Searing insights regarding toxic neoliberal connotations of "empowerment" and the complicity of white feminism in oppression fall alongside vulnerable discussions of sexuality, growing up around domestic abuse, and increasing anxiety over black motherhood. Throughout, rage serves as a motif of black women; though often ignored, dismissed, or violently quelled, rage in its nuanced forms can act as a means of survival and a basis for change.
VERDICT An ambitious, electrifying memoir. Recommended for readers seeking contemporary social commentary that's unrelenting yet humorous.
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