My Three Dads: Patriarchy on the Great Plains

Univ. of Chicago. Sept. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9780226820101. pap. $19. MEMOIR
Crispin (Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto) provides a much-needed counternarrative for the fictions of the Midwest that perpetuate and continue to engender an American cultural mythology that conceals harsh realities of colonialism, oppression, and patriarchalism, which together have led to undiscussed problems related to economic disadvantages, abuse, and stigma. The book opens with, ostensibly, a ghost story and unfolds as a series of near-exhumations of the haunted spaces of the Midwest, both as Crispin has lived with them and as she has studied them through socio-critical lenses. Crispin tells the stories of her “three fathers” with vulnerability and power, and she illuminates the secrets that families have, both personally and collectively, in ways that violate the norms of taciturn Midwestern values.
VERDICT A powerful, provocative narrative, designed to remind readers that it is often silence that empowers oppression, allowing it the power to endure in unchallenged ways.
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