Cover image for Almost touching the skies : women's coming of age stories
Almost touching the skies : women's coming of age stories
Howe, Florence.
First edition, Special thirtieth anniversary commemorative edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2000.
Physical Description:
xviii, 261 pages ; 24 cm
Raymond's run / Toni Cade Bambara -- Seventeen syllables / Hisaye Yamamoto -- Louisa / Mary E. Wilkins Freeman -- The fire / Helen Rose Hull -- Children of loneliness / Anzia Yezierska -- Wiser than a god / Kate Chopin -- Beauty : when the other dancer is the self / Alice Walker.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS648.W6 A79 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This book pays tribute to the diversity and vitality of American women writers through more than a century, and to the courage and resilience of young women through a compelling range of life experiences. Selected from the work of two dozen distinguished writers published by The Feminist Press, these stories explore the resonant theme of coming of age as a woman. How do girls and young women discover -- or create -- a sense of who they are and who they may become? How do they recognise what their lives have taught them and envision what their lives may someday be? How do they come to terms with what it means to be a woman in the world -- and imagine how they may change the world as women? The book offers an engaging, multicultural collection of fiction and memoir written between the 1870s and the 1990s.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This magnetic collection of women's fiction and memoirs explores "what it means to be young, gifted, and female in the U.S." Drawn from the Feminist Press' distinguished 30-year backlist, which includes both contemporary and rescued works from the past, it covers the last 120 years from the keen perspectives of 22 diverse contributors. As Marilyn French writes in her introduction, these powerful narratives enable readers to discover "a wider perspective on womanhood, and a sense of freedom." Zora Neale Hurston and Jean Gould evoke the mysteries of girlhood. Marjorie Agosin and Jo Sinclair explore the shock of adolescence and the importance of friends and mentors. And Kate Chopin and Meena Alexandra present unflinching depictions of women's work and their place in the world. One of the most remarkable excerpts is from Katharine Butler Hathaway's The Little Locksmith, a beautiful meditation on her life of physical disability and intellectual and spiritual transcendence, soon to be republished and not to be missed. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Feminist Press has published some astonishing material in its 30 years, some of which it can rightfully claim to have rediscovered. This moving anniversary volume, drawn partly from the house's backlist, contains skillfully drawn excerpts from many noteworthy longer works. A pantheon of girls abide here: city and country girls, sassy daddy's and mama's girls, girls trying to assimilate at home, school or summer camp, girls with crushes on girls, girls striving to be boys, girls desperately avoiding marriage and others convinced that "only a man's love can save me and make me human again." Though threaded with familiar themes of the onset of womanhood and the first flickerings of sexual awareness, there are other awakenings in these tales: the discovery of books and reading; sudden, headlong slides into rebellion against parents or teachers; and a dawning understanding of the power of money. The straightforward, unsentimental fictional voices of Jo Sinclair's 1950s tomboy, Vincent; Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's stoic heroine, Louisa; and Toni Cade Bambara's cocky and fleet-footed Squeaky, who always wins the 50-yard dash, complement the compelling real-life remembrances of such authors as Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker and Toni McNaron, whose 1992 memoir, I Dwell in Possibility, is excerpted here. Even the occasionally mawkish or dated piece provides an intriguing look at girls' inner lives. But those few false notes are outweighed by a number of beautifully quiet insights about the struggle to grow up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This anthology celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Feminist Press by bringing together the coming-of-age stories of 22 writers the press has published. In the introduction, Marilyn French reminds us of what it was like, not so very long ago, to grow up female without easy access to such stories. The selections, chosen and edited by Howe and Casella (the publisher and editorial director, respectively, of the press) are grouped into three categories: family, teachers and friends, and work and the world. Fiction and nonfiction coexist in a multicultural chorus made up of voices as various as Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Cade Bambara, Jo Sinclair, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Kate Chopin, Edith Konecky, and Louise Meriwether. Sometimes the change from one voice to another is jarring, but the whole shows both the variety and the commonality of the experiences of girls becoming women. Recommended for women's studies collections in both public and academic libraries.--Mary Paumier Jones, Westminster P.L., CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.