Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Seven top books about faith and feminism

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Monica West received her BA from Duke University, her MA from New York University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She was a Southern Methodist University Kimbilio Fellow in 2014, and she will be a Hedgebrook Writer in Residence in 2021.

Revival Season is West's first novel.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven books about women who grapple with—or reject and replace—patriarchal religion, including:
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

Deesha Philyaw’s incredible stories feature women whose lives and identities are inextricable from the church. These daughters, lovers, and mothers navigate how to be who they truly are in light of the church’s patriarchal teachings and double standards about what women should do. Readers watch multiple generations of women who want to be holy but don’t quite know what that means, especially because the definition is based on their subjugation. Philyaw shows these women making their own rules of holiness that allow them to stay true to some parts of the conservative Christian tradition they’ve been raised in while also allowing it to serve their needs. Some women are successful with these attempts while others are frustrated by its futility. Ultimately, the stories allow women to grapple with what it means to be a fully realized Black woman and a Christian.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue