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review 2018-09-16 17:47
Book Review: “Homegirls in the Public Sphere” by Keta Miranda
Homegirls in the Public Sphere - Marie "Keta" Miranda

I suggest to you one more of my book reviews. So let's start by describing the book.

The book under discussion is “Homegirls in the Public Sphere” by Keta Miranda. It was published in 2003 by University of Texas Press.

Usually, people have a special attitude towards girls in gangs. Some criticize them, other are sure that they must be treated with rejection. Most people do not understand them and even consider that their work does not allow being active participants in public life. In this book, Marie "Keta" Miranda shares the ethnographic results of her co-work with Chicana gang members. Throughout the book, these representatives narrate of self-identity during a documentary film It's a Homie Thang!

The research that takes place in the Fruitvale community of Oakland, California, unites not just representatives of that ethnic group, but also an ethnographer who is engaged in this study. Miranda’s project has a great effect on public opinion as to the image of young women that more often were mistakenly mixed in reality. Miranda did a huge work: she listened to the gang members and worked in partnership in the production of documentary. That all helped to investigate the politics of representation and ethnography as well as the ways how internal city adolescent Chicanos behaved in diverse publics. She also explains the way in which Chicana gangs really function.

Analysis of Content

The strengths of Miranda’s arguments are predetermined by the way the book is written. Miranda's work sets up a teamwork with the young women and creates a reading that they help work out; this can be marked as one of the most significant and different features of other works on youths in gangs. The weakness of the reading is that Miranda presents rather feminist analysis of the issue. She and the ten gang members from the community of Fruitvale in Oakland, California, together develop a "co-discursive partnership reflecting our different stakes in the issue of representation" (Miranda Keta, 2003, p. 5). Moreover, the collaboration with these young women also is reflected in a video It's a Homie Thang! That also made a change in the paradigm of Miranda’s plans as to the direction of the research and changed the goals of the project. It is a book of both particular ideologies. The author tries to change the society’s attitude towards this issue and, in this way, hopes for changes not just in social paradigm of perception but in future political perspective.

The goal of the author of the book is “to unsettle the typical image of girls in gangs" (Miranda Keta, 2003, p.6). However, she manages to do more than that. Firstly, Miranda’s book is clearly written that makes it very popular among different categories of readers. Secondly, it touches public sphere and centers on life and identity of the co-participants in the study that makes this book alive and rather realistic. It does not just describe something but has a link with the actual state of affairs.

The structure of the book is usual; it is divided into seven chapters with an appendix, where the writer includes frequently asked questions about girls in gangs. In the first three chapters, the researcher sets up the structure of her study and explains her idea of the book. Really, her goal was to move the genre of gang studies away from unrealistic and full of wrong believes accounts of life of homegirls. Her investigation of how girls in gangs are seen by others proves that in most cases, people retranslate and perceive their real image, because they represent themselves in absolutely another way. The strength of Miranda’s study is in the fact that she explains the way these mistaken believes shape public opinion and how the young women become a driving force in structuring and shaping these depictions. This new approach, the findings, and the writing can be considered as an innovative and significant addition to the literature in the field of ethnography and urban and women's studies.

The fresh ideas of the researcher move to recognize the subject position of an ethnographer in any study and to reveal his/her role in determining any results of a study, especially for those parts where ethnographic methods of data gathering are used.

Miranda interlaces such self-responsiveness throughout the book about homegirls; moreover, she devotes a whole chapter called "An Ethnographer's Tale" to the topic. At this point, she presents an ethnographic vignette and, in this way, outlines her own anxiety as to the success of the project. She attempts to raise a serious and complicated problem of power relations in the field of treatment of the girls.

Miranda uses Clifford's and Rosaldo's methodology and theories that arrange her book in a special way. She thoroughly connects ethnographic work with particular cases in interpretation. That makes Miranda's text multi-layered; it involves some levels of story and where necessary parts of analysis and finds, proving that the young women have a right to express their views.  The subaltern speaks and at the same time presents her position and her location, where these women “render their reality real for themselves and others” (Miranda Keta, 2003).  

Miranda successfully uses Chela Sandoval's analytical model and manages "to situate the expressions of resistance and or accommodation that the girls exercise within each of the public places where they speak" (Miranda Keta, 2003, p.107). Moreover, Miranda raises the question concerning whether subaltern public places can be sites for challenging power structures and probable social scripts or not. She points up how the young women place themselves within the fixed spheres of public conversation such as the conferences and other public settings where they demonstrate their video and engage in question-and-answer disputes with their audiences.

Miranda also comes to grips with the continuous self-analysis after her data gathering. She is suspicious in order not to become a prey to "essentialist solidarity" with her collaborators. She is represented as a member of this group, where each one can have his/her own position.

Chapter 2 features the socio-economic conditions, making principal of the Fruitvale development as a certain urban underclass community. The third chapter narrates the dilemmas that insider ethnographers deal with. Here, the author also mentioned those who work with poor classes of population and those who suffer from wrong stereotypes. Initially, the study was designed as an audience responses to the female gang members and male-dominated media images of gang life. However, Miranda changed the direction of the whole the project because “Of what value is it to talk about the absence of women in films, since it just amounted to criticism without results?…The girls needed to present their world and worldviews to fill, not analyze, the gap”.

The second half of the book puts in the pictures how the Fruitvale homegirls achieved that goal. In chapter 4, Miranda gives a textual analysis and a production summary of It’s A Homie Thang! The video touches the twin themes of likeness and difference of teens. Homie breaks off fixed ideas of gang organization as based on pathological, socially destructive behavior and shares her idea that those members are usual teens but with sole concerns. Other topics include language, membership, stereotypes, enemies and fights, origin stories, poetry, body language and the practice of “hangin’” or “kickin’ it” with the girls.

Chapter 5 describes the relationship between homegirls and points that the main social networks are based on friendship. Gang membership is also characterized by solidarity and partnership. Home girls influence each other, advice and support concerning various problems: family problems, romantic relationships, and fights with competitors. The peer group supply teen girls with an autonomous arena, which gives an opportunity to create individuality in resistance to their sexual objectification. Implementing an asexual dress style and hostile position and speech patterns, the girls stand their sense of self-worth on hostility prowess and peer support rather than competition for boys. That is why their reaction to the plot of Mi Vida Loca, where two homegirls could not share the same man,  was rather strong: “You can’t be in a gang and do that shit…a dude ain’t worth it, you know?” (Miranda Keta, 2003, p.150).

Chapters 6 and 7 deal with the problem of self-representation. Very often, homegirls are invited to some public discourse about them, but people ask questions based on the wrong stereotypes about the homegirls. Miranda gives good examples, describing their responses at a film festival, in professional and academic conferences, and a community health clinic. Usually, they are asked about incidence of physical violence, teen pregnancy, defining the female gang body in terms of dysfunctional sexuality.

Homegirls is a rather complex phenomenon as it exists as a unique women subculture, where each member supports and communicates with each other. Dr. Marie "Keta" Miranda is a well-known professor in Mexican-American Studies and an excellent cultural ethnographer. She relates her professional life to Chicana/Latina and Native American women's issues and tries to contribute as much as possible into this sphere. She has already published numerous studies that touche the topic of contemporary Chicana gang members in California, civil rights, 60s Chicana youth in the context of a post-war economy, the "Mod" subculture, Catholicism, conjunto dance, and organization in South Texas.” Homegirls in the Public Sphere” is one of her best publications.

Though Miranda’s book neither presents documentation nor cites from scholarly studies, it is written mostly from the world of the homegirls. In some parts, we can observe the lack of details about participants. This is namely their ages, biographies, family background, and gang conduct. Of course, it frustrates, but the missing information is most likely to be a result of the writer’s concern with protecting personal data of the informants. Despite this, Miranda’s work is a great contribution to the research of social world and provides groundwork for further subjects such as gang life shaped by gender/sexuality, ethnicity, and inter-generational kin and community ties. The time frame of the book is not very broad as it examines the current groups; however, it situates the issues within a larger historical context, because such homegirls are not only today’s phenomena, it was and will be.

This book makes a valuable contribution to Latino Studies or Criminal Justice, because t gives a better understanding of Latinos, crime, and justice. This volume can be used in various courses such as Women’s Studies, Chicano Studies, Urban Ethnography, Media Studies and seminars on socialization, youth subculture, and gender rebellion. The second part of the book is especially useful in  studies related to politics of representation.




Source: bookreviewuniversity.com
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photo 2018-09-13 18:46

Today's #quotable from #saimariejohnson #limitations #letnobodydefineyou#defineyourlimits #breaktheboundaries #believeachieve #inspireaspire #justdoit#standupforwhatyoubelievein #bethechangeyouwanttosee #authorsaimarie#positivemantras #influentialdecisions #selfmade #builtforsuccess

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review 2018-09-07 16:47
The Adventures of Phatty and Payaso: Central Park
The Adventures of Phatty & Payaso: Central Park - Marie Unanue


Phatty is a tabby cat who lives a luxurious life with his brothers Clyde and Stanley in a New York City apartment overlooking Central Park.  Phatty is usually scared and uncoordinated but is friendly and caring.  Every year Phatty looks forward to his friend Payaso visiting for the summer.  Payaso is well traveled, knows different languages and a lot about how things work. One day, an escaped hawk from teh zoo, Crawler comes to visit Phatty's window.  He threatens to hurt Phatty, Clyde and Stanly and steal their mother's jewels.  Phatty decides to overcome his fear and take care of Crawler.  He escapes to Central Park in hopes of finding Crawler's zoo keeper.  Phatty's friends race after him with the help of a boy named Max who can communicate in a different way and understands the animals.  Together, the friends will go on an adventure overcoming their fears.

An exciting adventure through the eyes of animals that revolves around conquering your fears, friendship and being your best self.  In the vein of A Pet's Life, The Adventures of Phatty and Payaso: Central Park focuses on what the pets do when the humans are not around.  I think the middle grade audience would enjoy the variety of characters and their interactions.  Phatty is encouraged by his friends to come up with ideas to fend off Crawler as well as overcome his fears.  When Phatty is exploring Central Park he is able to learn even more about himself through the eyes of the many animals that live there in addition to making some new friends. I loved the addition of Max as well, a boy who seems have autism, though it is never mentioned.  He has trouble communicating with people, but can talk with animals just fine.  He shines as he helps the pets solve a series of problems as they track Phatty through Central Park.  Another important part of the story was the treatment of Crawler's character.  Although he was the bully of the story, the characters were able to realize the deeper reason for his actions and help him rather than retaliate.  Overall, a fun animal adventure with plenty of life lessons for a middle grade reader.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 
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text 2018-09-01 12:05
August 2018 Round-Up


Wow August went by so fast, I can't believe we are going into September. August was a super busy month here with back to school stuff and school sports starting, it was insanely busy and I was surprised that  still got plenty of books in, or at least more than I thought I would lol. I got some ARCs  done and I also got the first three books in the Shatter Me series read. I liked them more than I thought I would. I still have to get the reviews done for them and will post them soon. Plus I finally finished The Mine Order, took me forever and not sure why but I really liked that book. 

Currently I'm working on one ARC and a book I meant to read for a while. It's just taking a bit longer since I was so busy and I need to find time to read but I'm hoping it will get better this week, when we are back to a normal routine.


For my ARC I'm reading : 


Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers




Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?


And my other book I'm reading right now is When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon



Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


There are some great books releasing next ,month and the month after and I'm not even sure when or how I will get to them all. But here are some books I'm looking forward to in September .


Wildcard by Marie Lu




Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco




The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White




I don't have any real goals for September, just finish my ARC and maybe if more come in get them done as well. 

Oh on a happy note. I did officially finish my 2018 Goodreads  Reading challenge, I had it only set to 50 books but YAY, If you wanna check it out here you can, I don't think I will up it at this time :) 


The Giveaway ended and the winner will hear from us within two weeks normally. We also will have a new Halloween Giveaway that will go up sometime mid September ;)  


Now to my August reads. as usual you can find the buy links in the reviews that will be linked.

Thank you for all your support and Happy Reading :) 


 A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness



Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.


 2 ½★ – 3★

Until We’re More by Cindi Madsen


Chelsea is smart, funny, gorgeous, and the best friend I’ve ever had. Ever since she left, I’ve been a wreck. I’ve been focused on keeping my family’s MMA gym afloat while I train and coach fighters, anything to not miss her more. But now she’s finally back, along with her grumpy, possessive cat, and things are weird between us.

By weird, I mean I can’t stop thinking about her in that way. She’s in the room next door, and it takes all my control not to storm in there, sweep her up, and bring her back to my bed. Even stranger, I’m pretty sure she’d be into it.

And this time, I’m not going to stop fighting until we’re more.


5 ★

Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill


As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of an ambassador brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.


5 ★

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater


The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…


 4 ★

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

4 ★

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/09/01/august-2018-round-up
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review 2018-08-31 09:21
good book and characters
Carnegie's Maid: A Novel - Marie Benedict

Clara had been picked by her parents from her sisters  to go to her parents to get a job and send money home to help the family as she wasn’t cut out to be a farmer’s wife. Clara was educated and loved to read books. After forty two horrible days at sea and passing through Immigration an official welcomed her and her shipmates to America. Clara had no one waiting for her like a lot of people from the ship did. Clara ended up in Philadelphia, PA and she was at the harbor with masses of people  when she heard her name called. But Clara was leery it might be someone out to trick or harm her. She checked out the man then identified herself. Andrew Carnegie lived with his mother and his brother Tom. The original Clara had been hired as a lady’s maid for Mrs. Carnegie but she had died on the passage over to America and Clara had the same name and took the job even though she didn't know how to be a lady’s maid but she was smart and a quick learner and soon knew what was expected of her.  Clara made some friends among the rest of the Carnegie’s staff. Overtime Andrew and Clara became friends Andrew was drawn to the fact to Clara’s love of reading. Then they became close and fell in love. A few people began to question what was going on between Clara and Andrew. Because of her love of books Andrew and Clara talked a lot about books and having a public library that would be free for anyone to use. Even though Andrew and Clara fell in love society forbids them to be together.

I did enjoy reading this book. I loved Andrew and Clara together and how they interacted even if Clara and Andrew were not allowed by society to be together and forced to part. I loved that Andrew did everything he could possibly do to try to find Clara without any luck. I liked this being told by Clara’s POV. I liked there was a slow build to Andrew;s and Clara’s relationship and then love. I really liked we are shown Andrew and Clara when they are older and what had happened to them. I liked learning about the Carnegies and the time period even though this book was fiction. I did enjoy reading about the immigrants traveling and what they went through once in America. I did like the plot. But this did drag for me at times. I liked the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend it.

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