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Somebody's Daughter

A Memoir

Ashley C. Ford

Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book

Somebody's Daughter Download image

ISBN10: 1250305977
ISBN13: 9781250305978


224 Pages



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Through poverty, adolescence, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley Ford wishes she could turn to her father for hope and encouragement. There are just a few problems: he’s in prison, and she doesn’t know what he did to end up there. 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 desperately searches for meaning in the chaos. Then, her grandmother reveals the truth about her father’s incarceration . . . and Ashley’s entire world is turned upside down.

Somebody’s Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor, Black girl in Indiana with a family fragmented by incarceration, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she embarks on a powerful journey to find the threads between who she is and what she was born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.


Praise for Somebody's Daughter

"Somebody’s Daughter is the heart-wrenching yet equally witty and wondrous story of how Ford came through the fire and emerged triumphant, as her own unapologetic, Black-girl self."The New York Times

"Rather than reduce these painful memories to a reflective interpretation, Ford lifts the language into a shimmering lyric register that is polyphonic . . . Her understanding that the ones we love are imperfect crafts a shining star for the reader to follow."San Francisco Chronicle

"A shining example of story and craft that embodies how exquisite a memoir can be."—Sarah Neilson, The Seattle Times

"Ashley C. Ford, a journalist and host of the Chronicles of Now podcast, makes her much-buzzed book debut with an intensely personal story: her relationship with her incarcerated father."Lebanon-Express (OR)

"Layering in the complexities of her relationship with her mother, her changing body and a boyfriend who grows abusive, Ford offers a heart-wrenching coming-of-age story."Time

"Her coming-of-age story gets at how to both acknowledge and break away from what we’re born into."Cosmopolitan

"In this beautiful, delicate memoir, writer Ashley C. Ford recounts a childhood defined by her incarcerated father's absence . . . and she starts a journey toward true and powerful selfhood."Elle

"Ashley Ford’s much-awaited memoir chronicles her complicated relationship with her father . . . expect a deeply moving, nuanced story"—Buzzfeed

"Her writing shines with extraordinary insight and grace, and Somebody’s Daughter is a book so many of you will want to read."—Electric Literature

"Expect to see Somebody's Daughter make waves this year."—LitHub

"Ashley C. Ford writes with lyrical vulnerability . . . Her most powerful personal essays have delved into her girlhood, race, incarceration, poverty, and family ties—themes she expands on in this recollection of her childhood and her father’s imprisonment."—Garden and Gun

"I think it’s going to resonate with so many young girls of color who grew up in this kind of adversity and how you can come up out of that."—

"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."—SheThePeople

“Ashley C. Ford’s wrenchingly brilliant memoir is truly a classic in the making. Ford’s writing is so richly observed and so suffused with love and yearning that I kept forgetting to breathe while reading it.”—John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A memoir so clear, sharp, and smooth that the reader sees, in vivid focus, Ashley C. Ford’s complicated childhood, brilliant mind, and golden heart. The gravity and urgency of Somebody’s Daughter anchored me to my chair and slowed my heartbeat. Ashley C. Ford is a writer for the ages, and Somebody’s Daughter will be a book of the year.”—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed

“A masterpiece of acceptance and exploration, of growth and forgiveness, and—maybe most important of all—learning how not to forgive. Ashley C. Ford’s talent is on full display, as is her heart.”—Isaac Fitzgerald, bestselling author of How to Be a Pirate

“Ashley C. Ford went deep into the well of herself and her history and came back to the light with the book now in your hands. A piercing interrogation of who we are—to ourselves and to the people laying claim to us—Somebody’s Daughter is an opportunity for each of us to illuminate the ties that bind, entangle, and connect us to one another.”—Saeed Jones, author of How We Fight for Our Lives

“An achingly honest account of a complicated childhood. Through heartache and grief, Somebody’s Daughter is the portrait of someone determined to love deeply, to honor the person they are meant to be, and to tell their story in service of a greater truth. I haven’t stopped thinking about this book since I closed it, and neither will you.”—Aminatou Sow, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Big Friendship

“A comfort to those who feel lost, Somebody’s Daughter is a powerful book that will give everybody the courage to love again.”—Laurie Halse Anderson, author of the National Book Award finalist Speak

"Ford creates fully three-dimensional portraits of her mother, grandmother, and other key players, using a child's-eye view to show us their failings and the calculations, negotiations, and survival tactics she developed in response to them."Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This remarkable, heart-wrenching story of loss, hardship, and self-acceptance astounds."Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Ashley C. Ford

Ashley C. Ford is a writer, host, and educator who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband, poet and fiction writer Kelly Stacy, and their chocolate lab Astro Renegade Ford-Stacy. Ford is the former host of The Chronicles of Now podcast, co-host of The HBO companion podcast Lovecraft Country Radio, seasons one & three of MasterCard’s Fortune Favors The Bold, as well as the video interview series PROFILE by BuzzFeed News, and Brooklyn-based news & culture TV show, 112BK.

She was also the host of the first season of Audible's literary interview series, Authorized. 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).

Heather Sten

Ashley C. Ford

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