“A canvas of vividly impressionistic splashes of growing up young, gifted, Black, and female.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
In this memoir of perceptions and ideas, renowned feminist intellectual bell hooks presents a stirringly intimate account of growing up in the South. Stitching together the gossamer threads of her girlhood memories, hooks shows us one strong-spirited child’s journey toward becoming a writer. Along the way, hooks sheds light on the vulnerability of children, the special unfurling of female creativity, and the imbalance of a society that confers marriage’s joys upon men and its silences on women. In a world where daughters and daddies are strangers under the same roof, and crying children are often given something to cry about, hooks uncovers the solace to be found in solitude, the comfort to be had in the good company of books.
Bone Black allows us to bear witness to the awakening of a legendary author’s awareness that writing is her most vital breath.
“With the emotion of poetry, the narrative of a novel, and the truth of experience, bell hooks weaves a girlhood memoir you won’t be able to put down—or forget. Bone Black takes us into the cave of self-creation.” —Gloria Steinem
bell hooks, born Gloria Jean Watkins in 1952, was an American author who used lowercase as both an homage to her maternal great-grandmother and an attempt to keep readers’ focus where it belonged: on her work. When she died in 2021, hooks left behind a lifetime of thought that was decades ahead of its time. In the heyday of feminism, when the movement claimed to represent all women equally, hooks revealed in Ain’t I a Woman—written when she was only nineteen—how the specific life experiences of Black women were being marginalized.
She never lost this pioneering spirit, bringing it to bear on more than thirty books of literary criticism, children’s fiction, poetry, and autobiography, including Killing Rage: Ending Racism, Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood, Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life, Remembered Rapture: The Writer at Work, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, Where We Stand: Class Matters, Communion: The Female Search for Love and the New York Times bestseller All About Love: New Visions.
A professor of English, African and Afro-American studies, American literature, and women’s studies, hooks taught at USC, Yale, among other institutions, including Berea College in her home state of Kentucky, where the bell hooks center was established to honor her work. Winner of the American Book Award in 1991 for Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics, a 2000 nominee for the NAACP’s Image Award, a 2018 inductee into Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, and one of Time’s 100 Women of the Year in 2020, hooks left her mark in every field she entered.
“Bone Black is a lucid, challenging, and entrancing read.” —The Washington Post Book World
“With the emotion of poetry, the narrative of a novel, and the truth of experience, Bell Hooks weaves a girlhood memoir you won't be able to put down--or forget. Bone Black takes us into the cave of self-creation.” —Gloria Steinem
“A canvas of vividly impressionistic splashes of growing up young, gifted, black, and female.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer