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Well-Read Women: Jody Uy

Well-Read Women: Jody Uy

Our next Well-Read Woman is First Look Club reviewer, Jody Uy!

Jody is a twenty-something high school English teacher with a hate-turned-love relationship (best fanfic trope btw) with books and stories. "These days I think a lot about my students, the youth, and how we have the heavy responsibility of doing better by and for them. I don’t have anything in particular to promote, so please do check out the socials of the other lovely bookworms and First Look Clubbers who are awesome and very very cool. Please stay home too if you can and register to vote if you’re of age!"

Why she thinks it's important to read women

"I don’t know what it’s like for you, but growing up female has sometimes meant to me that my words and actions would be taken as too emotional, too scientific, too bossy, too critical, too flowery—always somehow too much. I learned to hold back and instead carry myself and my words in ways that fit just right into the molds that society had set out for me. Reading allowed me to exist beyond those lines drawn out for me (whether as a child with limited capabilities or a woman with a limited voice) and reading books about women and by women allowed me the space to find my own value and discover new spaces where I was valued too."

Check out her recommended reads!


Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Chasing Vermeer was one of the few books I read when I was younger and was completely enamored by (I used to really hate reading). It’s a middle-grade mystery novel that follows the footsteps of two kids as they try to find a missing Vermeer painting. At a time where magic, wands, and dragons were all the rage, this novel stood out to me then as completely new and different because it revolved around the art we find in words, shapes, and figures. This novel by Blue Balliett was probably one of the books that jumpstarted my love for language too and holds a special place in my heart.

 

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

I was in high school when I first read this book and I re-read it in college as part of an American literature class I was taking. In those times, I was grappling with my own identity as someone with Chinese blood living in the Philippines who found comfort in the English language. This book was the first one I had ever read that made me feel like I was the character on the page—I never knew it was something I needed to feel or read. While I’m not an American by any means, The Joy Luck Club is an honest and heartrending character study of migrant Chinese women and is what I would consider one of the classics that helped me make sense of who I am.

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

First of all: c r y f e s t (you have been warned). This amazing masterpiece of a book is one for bookworms no doubt. It revolves around the life of widower and small bookstore owner A.J. Fikry who feels as though his life is tumbling down the denouement line of a story’s plot triangle, but a persistent sales rep and a curious package on his doorstep have other plans for him. I don’t want to give away too much (so please read it), but I consider this book to be one of the warmest and most touching reads out there. It is a beautifully written reminder that we are made up of multitudes of stories with many endings, beginnings, and possibilities.

 

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

This was a more recent read that I came across because of the First Look Club (and am extremely thankful to have been given a chance to read!). Like The Joy Luck Club, the book focuses on the stories of Asian women but explores their narratives in a middle-grade format. When You Trap a Tiger is a story brimming with myth and magic, but also roaring with the strength of women and the bonds we share with each other. It’s a heartwarming family story that I believe both young girls and women would thoroughly enjoy.

 

Normal People by Sally Rooney

When I picked up Normal People, I thought it would be a romance novel. Instead, what I got was a story about love in its truest and most human form—filled with uncertainty, desire, shame, honesty, missed chances, and hurt. While I’m not against the occasional cheesy meet-cute, I do feel that stories like these that highlight the messiness and complexities of people and relationships need to be read more. For me at this stage in my life, Normal People was a reminder that love isn’t always as straightforward, clear, and immediate as we typically make it out to be—and that’s okay.


You can find her on Instagram at @ohfishness.



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