One of the most prominent voices of her generation debuts with an extraordinarily powerful memoir: the story of a childhood defined by the ever looming absence of her incarcerated father and the path we must take to both honor and overcome our origins.
For as long as she could remember, Ashley has put her father on a pedestal. Despite having only vague memories of seeing him face-to-face, she believes he's the only person in the entire world who understands her. She thinks she understands him too. He's sensitive like her, an artist, and maybe even just as afraid of the dark. She's certain that one day they'll be reunited again, and she'll finally feel complete. There are just a few problems: he's in prison, and she doesn't know what he did to end up there.
Through poverty, puberty, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley returns to her image of her father for hope and encouragement. She doesn't know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. In her search for unconditional love, Ashley begins dating a boy her mother hates; when the relationship turns sour, he assaults her. Still reeling from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, Ashley finally finds out why her father is in prison. And that's where the story really begins. Somebody's Daughter
steps into the world of growing up a poor Black girl, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she provides a poignant coming-of-age recollection that speaks to finding the threads between who you are and what you were born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.
Ashley Ford's prose is glass--so clear, sharp and smooth that the reader sees, in vivid focus, her complicated childhood, brilliant mind, and golden heart. The gravity and urgency of Somebody's Daughter
anchored me to my chair and slowed my heartbeat--like no book has since Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye
. Ashley Ford is a writer for the ages, and Somebody's Daughter
will be a book of the year. -- Glennon Doyle, author of #1 New York Times
and founder of Together Rising
About the Author
Ashley C. Ford lives in Brooklyn by way of Indiana. Ford hosts The Chronicles of Now podcast where she has featured Lisa Taddeo, Carmen Maria Machado, Tommy Orange, Curtis Sittenfeld, and more. She also co-hosts The HBO companion podcast Lovecraft Country Radio. Ford has written or guest-edited for The Guardian, ELLE, BuzzFeed, OUT Magazine, Slate, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, Allure, Marie Claire, The New York Times, Netflix Queue, Domino, Cup of Jo, and various other web and print publications. Her writing has been listed among Longform & Longread's Best of 2017. She has been named among Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 in Media (2017), Brooklyn Magazine's Brooklyn 100 (2016), Time Out New York's New Yorkers of The Year (2017), and Variety's New Power of New York (2019). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Kelly Stacy, who is also a writer, and their chocolate lab Astro Renegade Ford-Stacy.