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Somebody's Daughter

A Memoir

Ashley C. Ford


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Other Editions of This Title:
CD-Audio (6/1/2021)


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 bestseller Untamed and founder of Together Rising

Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book, 9781250305978, 208pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2021

About the Author

Ashley C. Ford lives in Brooklyn but was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is the oldest of four children. She has written or guest-edited for The Guardian, ELLE Magazine, BuzzFeed, Slate, I-D, Lenny Letter, Matter magazine, Ladies Home Journal, popular lifestyle blog Design*Sponge, and various other web and print publications.

Ford has been a guest speaker at SXSW, Earlham College, Hippocamp Nonfiction Writing Conference, Ball State University, and a host of other events and universities. She is also a highly sought after “in-conversation” personality for authors on their own book tours. She has participated in readings and conversations with authors such as Lena Dunham, Mychal Denzel Smith, Cheryl Strayed, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Saeed Jones, and Zadie Smith.

Ford is a former Senior Features Writer for Refinery29.Com, and a former creative nonfiction teacher for The New School. She was the host of the first season of Audible.Com's interview series, Authorized. On this podcast, she interviewed authors such as Janet Mock, Adelle Waldman, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, Yaa Gyasi, Tayari Jones, and again, Zadie Smith. In January 2017, Ford was named among Forbes 30 Under 30 in media.

Ford currently hosts PROFILE by BuzzFeed News, and is the former host of Brooklyn-based news & culture TV show (and podcast!), 112BK. She is also working on a collection of interviews (B-Side Chats) with her husband, Kelly Stacy.