In the many years that I've been editing book reviews, I've never been
pitched so hard on a title as I was for Roxana Shirazi's The Last
Living Slut: Born In Iran, Bred Backstage. The book's PR trumpeted that
it "is sure to be one of the most-talked-about and controversial books
of the year…the rock and roll version of The Satanic Verses." Weekly
e-mails and phone calls alerted me to the "unapologetic, feminist book"
and its "passionate, heartfelt tale of jilted love," urged me to
interview the author, and—with that Rushdie reference—suggested that
Shirazi's tale of cock-rock conquest could easily be grounds for a
After actually reading it, though, I'm thinking that if The Last Living
Slut does turn out to be one of the most talked-about books of the
year, it'll be mainly because those publicists can't stop fulminating
about how controversial it is.
Irene Vilar's extraordinary and incendiary new memoir, Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict, is a potential launching pad for a discussion about abortion that is more personal than political. Having terminated fifteen pregnancies in sixteen years, Vilar turns her experiences into a reminder that the complexity of abortion extends beyond the scientific and political arenas.
"Rave On" is the Page Turner series that asks feminist writers, artists, musicians, activists, leaders, and scholars to talk about a book that completely rocked their world. Today we feature illustrator and writer Cristy C. Road on Assata: An Autobiography, by Assata Shakur.
I'm originally from Miami, where I felt frigidly alienated for a billion reasons, many of which were ignited by the republican Cuban-American community, which seems to run the social consciousness of every Cuban community there—despite class, neighborhood, etc. I left when I turned 18 and hung out around northern Florida in the punk rock community, and I felt very alive, but sincerely in denial about a lot of the new prejudices I was seeing in this new territory.
When I was about 20, I began feeling completely isolated from the punk rock community as well. I used a lot of denial-based tactics to feel "sane" back then, because I was so romantic about this community since it had salvaged me from preteen turmoil. As I grew older, it was becoming clearer that there was still sexism and racism clouding the positive effects of punk rock.