What we’re reading: Trethewey, Murphy & McCrossen

Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films we’re watching, the television shows we’re hooked on, or the music we’re loving.


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Gabrielle Williams is reading Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey.

I’m reading Memorial Drive by Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey. The synergy of growing up on Memorial Drive in Mississippi, and then writing a memorial to her mother who was murdered by her stepfather, isn’t missed by Trethewey. Firmly placing us on the streets she grew up in where, ‘the nation’s largest monument to confederacy rises out of the ground’ a few doors up from their apartment, the nostalgic dream of the white South is a dangerous, looming presence in the lives of all the Black residents.

This book is a nuanced, beautiful tribute to Trethewey’s mother, father and extended family, while at the same time providing the reader a chilling insight into how it must feel to have grown up Black in the American South.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Neither, by the way, can Obama who gave it Book of the Year in 2020.


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Lian Hingee is reading If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

Months ago I heard that Julie Murphy (whose wonderful novel Dumplin’ was just named one of the top 100 best YA books of all time by Time Magazine) was writing her first book for grown-ups: a body-positive, contemporary retelling of Cinderella. Now, if there’s one thing I like more than a rom-com, it’s a fairytale adaptation. Chuck in a plus-size heroine, and I am sold.

If the Shoe Fits ticks all the appropriate Cinderella boxes: An orphaned girl, two step sisters, a handsome prince, sparkly shoes…. even a pumpkin coach – but transplants them all to modern-day America. Cindy is an aspiring shoe designer, whose (decidedly not-evil) stepmother is the producer of a Bachelor-esque reality TV show called After Midnight. When the opportunity comes for Cindy and her stepsisters to join the cast, the chance to get her creations on national TV is too good to pass up. What she didn’t expect was to find herself actually falling in love.

If the Shoe Fits is a delight. It’s funny, and heart-warming, and gentle, and kind, and a bit raunchy, and smart, and inclusive, and empowering, and I loved it.


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Teen Advisory Board member Aurelia Orr is reading Margot Mertz Takes It Down by Carrie McCrossen

I just finished reading Margot Mertz Takes It Down by Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy, and I really enjoyed it. It’s expected to release this October and I highly recommend it.

Margot Mertz Takes It Down dives deeply and unapologetically into the taboos and dark side of adolescence. Whilst told through a lighthearted narrative, the subject matter is nonetheless very real (firmly grounded in our patriarchal, misogynistic society) where literally at the click of a button, one young girl’s choice can turn into her greatest shame. Delving into the world of sexting, consent, and revenge porn, the necessity to end the objectification of women has never been as desperate as it is now. Margot Mertz is the modern hero all girls need.

Margot Mertz Takes It Down is currently available for pre-order.

Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive

Natasha Trethewey

$27.99Buy now

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