Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Even Tough Girls Wear Tutus

By Gail Allison

**Giveaway is now closed**

In Deborah Jiang Stein’s disjointed and heart-wrenching memoir, "Even Tough Girls Wear Tutus," she talks bravely and frankly about finding out who she really is: something she never had the chance to grow up with and learn.

So many of us take for granted the fact that we knew who we were from the get-go. Jiang Stein begins her story when she was 12 years old, and found a letter hidden under the lining of her mother’s dresser drawer. She knew from the time she could understand it that she was adopted, but she never knew the real, gritty details. Jiang Stein was born in prison addicted to heroin, and spent a little more than the first year of her life living in a women’s prison until she was adopted. This news starts her fragile threads unravelling and confirms in her mind what she felt all along was true: being a bad person is embedded in her DNA. She can’t NOT be that person.

Jiang Stein details the painful years that she was a teenager, finding solace only in dance, and acting out beyond most people’s wildest imagination the rest of the time. She eventually worked through her issues and channeled her energy into one of the most positive outlets that she could have: the unPrison Project. She founded this group, whose main goal is to advance physical and emotional wellbeing for women who are incarcerated.

It’s not a restful read, and at times the choppy language and jumps from one point to another are jarring, but I think that adds to the writing. It’s not comfortable, flowing subject matter, so why should the language follow suit? That being said, I read this in one night. Once I picked it up I found that I couldn’t put it down. But when I finally finished it, I realized that I hadn’t been comfortable since page one, but it didn’t matter, because the subject matter was so gripping, I just didn’t want to stop learning about Jiang Stein, her circumstances, and where the consequences of her choices took her.

If you’re looking for fluffy chick lit to read in a bubble bath with a glass of wine, look past this one. If you’re ready to read about inner turmoil, a mother’s absolute love for her child, and someone who was strong enough to grit her teeth and go to war with life, only to emerge a better person at the other side, I’d recommend this book to you.

For more information on The UnPrison project, check out the website.

Email info@deborahstein.com to enter drawing for ten (10) book giveaway. Put 'Chick Lit Contest' in the subject. Ten names determined by Random.org. Contest ends March 11th.

You might also like:


Deborah Jiang Stein said...

Thank you for this! It's an honor you included my book on your blog... even though it's not the fluffy book you refer to. I''m excited to give away 10 books to readers, too.

StereoQueenBee said...

Sounds like a very interesting read - looking forward to adding it to my list!

Melissa said...

Deborah has chosen her winners. If your name is on this list, please contact her directly. info at deborahstein dot com.

Congrats to:
PJ Hamill, Carolyn Raffensperger, Constance Siegel, Susan Swanson, Nancye Davis, Andrea Freeman, Katherine Ann Eyster, Julie Missing, Bonnie-Ann Burnett, Angel Nuce, Jeryl Marcus, L Lam, Carrie Miller, Janice Freedman, Lilian Cheng