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The Bold World

A Memoir of Family and Transformation
Narrated by: Jodie Patterson
Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Inspired by her transgender son, activist Jodie Patterson explores identity, gender, race, and authenticity to tell the real-life story of a family’s history and transformation. 

One of the Best Books of the Week - USA Today and New York Post

“A courageous and poetic testimony on family and the self, and the learning and unlearning we must do for those we love.” (Janet Mock)

As an African American growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the 1970s, when neighborhoods defined people, Jodie Patterson learned early on to engage with her community for strength and comfort. But then in 2009, this mother of five had her world turned upside down. Realizing her definition of community wasn’t wide enough for her own child’s needs, Patterson forced the world wide open.

In The Bold World, we witness a mother reshaping her attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of her community, to meet the needs of her transgender son, Penelope - and opening the minds of everyone in her family who absolutely, unequivocally refused to conform.

As we walk alongside Patterson on her journey, we meet the Southern women who came before her - the mother, grandmothers, and aunts who raised and fortified her, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. She shares her family’s history - particularly incidents within the black community around sexism, racism, and civil rights. We learn about her children, who act as a vehicle for Jodie Patterson’s own growth and acceptance of her diverse family, and her experiences as a wife, mother, and eventually, activist. The result is an intimate portrait and an exquisite study in identity, courage, and love. Patterson’s relentless drive to change the world will resonate with and inspire us all, reflecting our own individual strength and tenacity, our very real fears, and most of all, our singular ability to transform despite the odds.

Praise for The Bold World

“In The Bold World, Jodie Patterson makes a case for respecting everyone’s gender identity by way of showing how she came to accept her son, Penelope. In tying that struggle to the struggle for race rights in this country during her own childhood, she paints a vivid picture of the permanent work of social justice.” (Andrew Solomon, best-selling author of The Noonday Demon and Far from the Tree)

©2019 Jodie Patterson (P)2019 Random House Audio

What members say

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Bold bold bold - yes!

This is a beautifully shared narrative written by my Spelman sister Jodie Patterson who is fearless and it shows in every word chosen to tell her story . I loved it. Thanks Jodie and Congrats! Keep going!!! ❤️👊🏽✨💙

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beyond Unconditional Love

I enjoyed every single chapter, word, of this journey of Love with this phenomenal family.

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Insightful!

Loved this book. Opened my mind to the complexity of love, motherhood and gender. Thank you Mara Akil for recommending and Jodie Patterson for sharing your story with the world.

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Good book to understand transgender people!

I love Jodie's open mindedness and fighting spirit. Penelope is lucky to have her as his mother. The reason I'm giving it only 3 stars is because of her complete transformation into someone completely different after her first child. I feel terrible for her ex-husband. He fell in love with someone who was ambitious, independent, a feminist, and who didn't believe in gender roles. Later, she turned into someone who completely adhered to traditional gender roles, especially after she met Joe. Even after she couldn't take care of all her kids and her youngest suffered due to that, she got pregnant again. I don't consider her a strong woman and won't give her accolades for any of that. I sincerely applaud her for being an amazing mother to Penelope though!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful