Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement - book cover
Community & Culture
  • Publisher : Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book
  • Published : 14 Sep 2021
  • Pages : 272
  • ISBN-10 : 1250621739
  • ISBN-13 : 9781250621733
  • Language : English

Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement


"Searing. Powerful. Needed." ―Oprah

"Sometimes a single story can change the world. Unbound is one of those stories.
Tarana's words are a testimony to liberation and love." ―Brené Brown

From the founder and activist behind one of the largest movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the "me too" movement, Tarana Burke debuts a powerful memoir about her own journey to saying those two simple yet infinitely powerful words
me tooand how she brought empathy back to an entire generation in one of the largest cultural events in American history.

Tarana didn't always have the courage to say "me too." As a child, she reeled from her sexual assault, believing she was responsible. Unable to confess what she thought of as her own sins for fear of shattering her family, her soul split in two. One side was the bright, intellectually curious third generation Bronxite steeped in Black literature and power, and the other was the bad, shame ridden girl who thought of herself as a vile rule breaker, not as a victim. She tucked one away, hidden behind a wall of pain and anger, which seemed to work...until it didn't.

Tarana fought to reunite her fractured self, through organizing, pursuing justice, and finding community. In her debut memoir she shares her extensive work supporting and empowering Black and brown girls, and the devastating realization that to truly help these girls she needed to help that scared, ashamed child still in her soul. She needed to stop running and confront what had happened to her, for Heaven and Diamond and the countless other young Black women for whom she cared. They gave her the courage to embrace her power. A power which in turn she shared with the entire world. Through these young Black and brown women, Tarana found that we can only offer empathy to others if we first offer it to ourselves.

Unbound is the story of an inimitable woman's inner strength and perseverance, all in pursuit of bringing healing to her community and the world around her, but it is also a story of possibility, of empathy, of power, and of the leader we all have inside ourselves. In sharing her path toward healing and saying "me too," Tarana reaches out a hand to help us all on our own journeys.

Editorial Reviews

TIME Best Books of 2021
Marie Claire Best Books of 2021
BookPage's Best Books of 2021
LA Times's "The 5 Biggest Nonfiction Books of the Fall"
Kirkus Best of 2021
Library Journal Best Books of 2021

"Searing. Powerful. Needed." ―Oprah

"Sometimes a single story can change the world. Unbound is one of those stories. Tarana's words are a testimony to liberation and love." ―Brené Brown

"Burke sings a Black girl's song and Unbound stands alongside I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Color Purple, as a coming of age story that is at once searingly painful, brilliant, and beautiful. Tarana Burke is known around the world for her activism and leadership. Now she will be known as an extraordinary writer." ―Imani Perry, author of Breathe

"Tarana Burke is the most important voice of our generation and Unbound is an offering that will set free hearts, families, and communities. I will never stop being grateful for Tarana Burke's wisdom and courage - and I will never stop thinking about this book." ―Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Untamed and founder of Together Rising

The courageous founder of the #MeToo movement delivers her long-awaited memoir on fighting for justice, equity, and empathy." ―Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again

"Burke's Unbound is worthy of being considered next to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as one of those rare books that will unfold and welcome parts of us we thought we'd completely hid until the earth is gone. Unbound is the one we readers and writers have been waiting for." ―Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

"An unforgettable page-turner of a life story rendered with endless grace and grit." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Intensely moving and unapologetically frank, Burke's fearless memoir will uplift and inspire the next generation of survivors, advocates, and truth-tellers." ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

Readers Top Reviews

J HamiltonAngela Tur
If you are not ready to confront sexual trauma, wait to read this book. If you are willing to step into that pain, towards healing, and have at least one person to walk with you, read this book and thank Ms. Burke for her courage and willingness to persevere. We owe so much to you.
Long before #MeToo was a hashtag or a movement, Tarana Burke had coined the phrase in her work with young girls who were victims of sexual assault. In her memoir, Unbound, Burke shares that she had been “doing the work of broadening the message around sexual violence" since 2005. A young victim herself, she coined the phrase “me too” as a way of sharing and “empowering through empathy". The memoir is primarily about Burke’s life, the victimization of black and brown girls in particular, and her work to help survivors. She shares her reaction to learning that the hashtag #metoo had appeared on twitter and her initial fear that no one would believe “a black woman from the Bronx” had come up with the idea. Further on she realized that the #MeToo helped women to feel empowered to tell their stories and that who got credit for what was not really the point. What victims need, Burke says, is to be heard "with empathy for that dark place of shame where we keep our stories”. While the book was weighted down with extraneous details and dragged in places, Burke’s ability to put into words exactly what she was feeling is inspiring. Referring to women’s all too frequent experience women of someone correcting our feelings she recalls the day a doctor said to her "it doesn't hurt, it's uncomfortable” which, of course was the doctor’s definition of Burke’s experience. But, she says to us, it did hurt: "It hurt my head that couldn't keep up with the pace of this moment and it hurt my heart that was already so battered and bruised”. I love that! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is a powerful account of how she has worked with her own sexual trauma and has helped so many girls through “personal empowerment” work. This book touches my own trauma places deeply. It gives me hope for greater change, especially for women of color.
This memoir is everything. It is vulnerable, honest, frank, raw, powerful...I could go on and on. Although it is nonfiction, it truly reminds me of The Bluest Eye in its vivid descriptions. As a black woman, I am floored and so grateful for Tarana's work.
Tarana is an excellent writer and storyteller. She weaves a story that has you hooked from the moment you pick it up. You can feel the emotions with her and unfortunately if you have the lived experience of sexual violence you will relive that too. That's not the whole of the story though. This memoir demonstrates how #metoo is more than the hashtag you know but details the internal and external struggles of the person who first birthed this phrase. I haven't found a biography that spoke to my life in this way since I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Unbound was written for such a time as this. It is the truth serum that's hard to digest but we really need to heal.

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