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June 17, 2023

A Renaissance of Our Own: A Memoir & Manifesto on Reimagining by Rachel E. Cargle ~ a Review

by MK French

CEO Rachel Cargle reimagined her life independent of current social structures, moving from a Christian wife to a queer feminist voice. This memoir outlines the breaking points in her life that brought about that change, and invites others "to acknowledge the ways of being that stem from societal expectations instead of your truth, and to embark on a renaissance of your own."

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of memoir A Renaissance of Our Own by Rachel E Cargle
May 2023; Ballantine Books; 9780593134733
audio, ebook, print (256 pages); memoir

Opening with her Manifesto and author's note were invited to take a look at ourselves and our place in society. Each chapter details an era of her life and what she learned from it, then there are questions and journaling prompts to help the reader navigate their thoughts. Children are taught the social rules, which are meant to keep the existing status quo. Raised Baptist, Rachel found herself following the guidelines and expectations of being a good Christian wife even when her gut told her that she would not feel happy or fulfilled. She followed others' directions for her life, and it was wanting. Even the assumption that she had to have children or attend prestigious universities for education was questioned. 

The questions for the reader in that chapter are to assess actual values of importance, not just assumptions. Society was built by a certain class of people: white, able-bodied, and affluent. The underlying rules reinforce that system, so answering the questions can be uncomfortable and difficult. Each chapter can be taken individually, easing us into that deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in society. No one would be expected to do it all in one sitting or even have those answers right away. It's meant to be a framework to build from and grow in a thoughtful way, something that can benefit all of us.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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