Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me (Paperback)
Janet Mock, trans activist, TV host, and contributing editor for Marie Claire, has delivered yet another highly personal and riveting memoir. While it's a follow-up to her first book, Redefining Realness, which was on Mock's teen years and transition, Surpassing Certainty stands on its own two feet. Mock weaves a strong narrative of her memories from the first half of her 20s—a time during which she chose not to disclose her transness. Her voice is captivating as she recounts the many ways she spent those years of her life—being a stripper, her intense relationship and early marriage to her now-ex husband, and moving from her native Honolulu to New York City, all while making her way through college, grad school, and then breaking into the publishing industry. Mock has created a beautifully honest and truly relatable work that also explores her intersecting identities and how they have influenced her experience of the world. I know everyone says this but, really, I couldn't put it down.— From Amy
“A defining chronicle of strength and spirit” (Kirkus Reviews), Surpassing Certainty is a portrait of a young woman searching for her purpose and place in the world—without a road map to guide her. This memoir “should be required reading for your 20s” (Cosmopolitan).
A few months before her twentieth birthday, Janet Mock is adjusting to her days as a first-generation college student at the University of Hawaii and her nights as a dancer at a strip club. Finally content in her body after her teenage transition, she vacillates between flaunting and concealing herself as she navigates dating and disclosure, sex and intimacy, and most important, letting herself be truly seen. Under the neon lights of Club Nu, Janet meets Troy, a yeoman stationed at Pearl Harbor naval base, who becomes her first. The pleasures and perils of their relationship serve as a backdrop for Janet’s progression through all the universal growing pains—falling in and out of love, living away from home, and figuring out what she wants to do with her life.
Fueled by her dreams and an inimitable drive, Janet makes her way through New York City intent on building a career in the highly competitive world of magazine publishing—within the unique context of being trans, a woman, and a person of color. Hers is a timely glimpse about the barriers many face—and a much-needed guide on how to make a way out of no way.
Long before she became one of the world’s most respected media figures and lauded leaders for equality and justice, Janet learned how to advocate for herself before becoming an advocate for others. In this “honest and timely appraisal of what it means to be true to yourself” (Booklist), Surpassing Certainty offers an “exquisitely packaged gift of her experiences...that signals something greater” (Bitch Magazine).
About the Author
Janet Mock is a writer, TV host, and advocate tackling stigma through storytelling. With a Master’s in journalism from New York University, the Honolulu native began her career as an editor at People.com and went on to write cover stories for Marie Claire, Interview, and The Advocate as well as essays for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Lenny. She produced HBO’s The Trans List, hosts the podcast Never Before, and serves as a columnist for Allure. Called a “fearless new voice” and “trailblazing leader” who “changed my way of thinking” by Oprah Winfrey, Janet was a featured speaker at the historic Women’s March on Washington. She is the author of Surpassing Certainty and the New York Times bestseller Redefining Realness. Find out more at JanetMock.com.
Praise for Surpassing Certainty
"Brimming with liberated self-discovery, Mock's conversational memoir is smoothly written with plenty of insight and personal perspective….A defining chronicle of strength and spirit particularly remarkable for younger readers.”
Praise for Redefining Realness
“Far too many assume that Janet Mock's story is primarily about her body. This book is irrefutable evidence that Janet must be understood through her intellect, spirit, and wit. Janet does what only great writers of autobiography accomplish—she tells a story of the self, which turns out to be a reflection of all humanity. You will be changed by this book.”
— Melissa Harris-Perry, Wake Forest University Professor
“Janet Mock is a glamorous, smarty-pants writer and activist…. Her book about her life as a transwoman, Redefining Realness, isn’t just a service to the trans community but to every woman – hell, person – who has struggled with identity.”
— Lena Dunham, actress and author of Not That Kind of Girl
“Redefining Realness is a riveting, emotional, crisply written testimony. I couldn't put it down. I aspire to be as unflinchingly brave! Janet Mock's story simultaneously embodies, complicates, and subverts the concept of American exceptionalism and self-creation.”
— Laverne Cox, actress, advocate, and star of Orange Is the New Black