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Joann Castle
What My Left Hand Was Doing: Lessons from a Grassroots Activist
Joann Castle, author

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

This searing, unflinching account of social justice activism takes us into the heart of the civil rights and black self-determination movements, seeking lessons learned that have relevance today. A priceless activist history lesson, What My Left Hand Was Doing chronicles the more common, less discussed reality of the day-to-day efforts, interactions, triumphs, and failures that reflect every social justice movement. Today, as a new wave of activists respond to the latest tide of repression, misogyny, and racism, Castle offers a path forward in the book's exclusive "Activist's Survival Guide."

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10


Plot: This memoir is well structured and well written. The author focuses just the right amount of attention on each stage of her life and development, keeping her story moving and holding reader interest.

Prose: This is a memoir from a gifted writer. The prose is polished, eloquent, and concise. The author paints a vivid portrait of life in the '60s in Detroit, with apt, relevant descriptions featuring the perfect balance of detail, characterization, and action.

Originality: Although the subject matter is not new, this memoir feels fresh and original due to its fascinating protagonist and the author's deft storytelling.

Character Development: The author does a stellar job with character development. She offers insight into her own actions, but also provides context about the Civil Rights movement and the city of Detroit itself.

Blurb: Eloquent and engrossing, Castle's memoir is a must-read for all those interested in the Civil Rights Movement. Providing an honest, first-hand account of Detroit's racial divide in the 1960s, the author takes readers on an inspirational but harrowing journey through a painful time in the city's history.

Date Submitted: April 05, 2018