Thursday, July 30, 2009

Throwback Thursday: The Kayla Chronicles

Throwback Thursday is a weekly feature created by Tashi at Taste Life Twice. When I saw Ari's review of Kayla Chronicles I thought it would be cool to discuss our different takes on the book. Here is what wrote about the book earlier this year:

The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston. I really wanted to like this book because I liked the premise: a young feminist committed to supporting her peers, helping them build self-esteem and find their girl power. Kayla is smart, athletic and articulate. How could you not love her? What bothers me most is what's not here. Kayla and her best friend spout off feminist quotes like boys cite sport stats. Pretty impressive except as a quote collector and black feminist myself, who the girls aren't quoting sticks out like static hair. Kayla wants to be a journalist, but she doesn't quote any notable black journalists like icons, Daisy Bates or Nancy Maynard. Kayla's grandmother and Rosalie's mother are both professors and feminists. If you know anything about women of color feminists, you know there are some rifts with the majority movement so it is more than strange that there isn't a single quote by notable black feminists such as Belle Hooks, Alice Walker or Audre Lorde. And the book reads as if Winston can't quite figure how to balance traditional gender roles and a modern feminist view of how women are defining themselves. Kayla is a teen so you expect her confusion but competing sub-plots suggests Winston isn't sure how to create a believable cast.

Ari at Reading In Color loved it and so did Doret at Happy Nappy Bookseller.


MissAttitude said...

i think you make some valid points in your critique. However, I haven't heard of any of the black journalists (thank you for bringing them to my attention!) you mention so their lack of representation would not have been foremost on my mind. I also don't know much about black feminists (except Bell Hooks and Alice Walker), only taht I knew that they didn't always get along with the majority movement.
I agree that Winston is trying to figure out how to balance traditional gender roles and modern feminist, that is the whole point and what I think makes Kayla's story so interesting. I thought the cast was pretty believable.
Interesting review, thanks for sharing! :)

Color Online said...


I realize most teens don't know these women which is why I said it's a missed opportunity and that concerns me. You likely also don't know that 90% of quotes at Color Online and here are always quotes by women of color.

When I worked in the corporate world, I was acutely aware that we were not in any of the messaging the company used to promote a company culture. At best, you'd get a quote from Oprah otherwise all positive messaging were quotes were overwhelmingly either sport analogies or quotes by white men. Everything was male-oriented.

It is in congruent to me that you can have women like Kayla's grandmother and Rosalie's mom not citing prominent women of color.

I enjoyed the book. I really liked Kayla and Rosalie, but the others were not equally developed.

Tarie said...

Wow, you two have me intrigued about this book. I want to read it!

Ms. Yingling said...

I couldn't get into this book either, but you, liked the premise. There was something about this that seemed forced.