We’re thrilled to share that our March Book Club selection is Melissa Febos’s new essay collection Girlhood, forthcoming from Bloomsbury on March 30, but available to Rumpus Book Club members in just a few weeks!
When her body began to change at eleven years old, Melissa Febos understood immediately that her meaning to other people had changed with it. By her teens, she defined herself based on these perceptions and by the romantic relationships she threw herself into headlong. Over time, Febos increasingly questioned the stories she’d been told about herself and the habits and defenses she’d developed over years of trying to meet others’ expectations. The values she and so many other women had learned in girlhood did not prioritize their personal safety, happiness, or freedom, and she set out to reframe those values and beliefs.
Blending investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship, Febos charts how she and others like her have reimagined relationships and made room for the anger, grief, power, and pleasure women have long been taught to deny. Written with Febos’s characteristic precision, lyricism, and insight, Girlhood is a philosophical treatise, an anthem for women, and a searing study of the transitions into and away from girlhood, toward a chosen self.
“In this book, Febos proves herself to be one of the great documenters of the terrible and exquisite depths of girlhood. Here, that terrible and beautiful aeon is dissected, sung over, explored like ancient ruins. These essays are moss and iron-hard and beautiful-and struck through with Febos’s signature brilliance and power and grace. An essential, heartbreaking project.” – Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House and Her Body and Other Parties
“A gorgeously written, perfectly calibrated investigation into the traps, paths, and challenges of being female in this world. It’s a stunner of a book.” – Jami Attenberg, author of All This Could Be Yours
“Melissa Febos just revived me in the most spectacular way. Girlhood blazes through the stories we’ve been told with a dazzling fury and a brilliant beauty. Whatever we are or were, this is a map to a new becoming. Between the intellect and the body a third term emerges, dissolving binaries and reinventing the space of erotic power and creativity. A fuck-all guide to resilience and reclamation, a breathtaking reimagination of who we might be in spite of what we’ve been told. Girlhood will bring you back to life.” – Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Verge
Subscribe to the Rumpus Book Club by February 15 to join us in reading Girlhood, culminating in an exclusive online discussion with author Melissa Febos about the book!