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Ashley C. Ford Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Somebody's Daughter (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Ashley C. Ford
Ashley C. Ford was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is a podcaster, writer, and educator. A lot of her writing covers personal topics, including her history as a sexual assault survivor, her life as a queer, black writer, and her experiences with a family member in prison for much of her childhood.

She was raised in Fort Wayne by her grandmother and mom. She graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana with an English degree. Ashley, who identifies as being queer, credits the time she spent at Ball State as being one of the places that she was able to explore her sexuality.

Ashley has guest-edited or written for ELLE, Teen Vogue, BuzzFeed, Lenny Letter, Slate, The Guardian, OUT Magazine, New York Magazine, INTO and various other print and web publications. She has taught creative nonfiction writing at The New School and Catapult Co, and she has had her work listed among Longform and Longread’s Best of 2017. she has hosted Fortune Favors the Bold, a collaboration between Gimlet Creative and Mastercard and also contributed to CupofJo.com.

Ashley, while she worked as a development executive for Matter Studios, focused on documentaries and web series. She was the host of the first season of Authorized, Audible.com’s literary interview series, and hosted Brooklyn based culture and news television show (and podcast) 112BK. She’s been named among Brooklyn Magazine’s Brooklyn 100, Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Media, and Time Out New York’s New Yorkers of the Year 2017.

She loves writing. The only thing that she has maybe loved for longer than writing is her younger brother, who is fourteen months younger than she is.

It was her grandmother that taught her how to read at the age of four, and she would read anything that she could get her hands on. Even pamphlets. But she had never attempted to write. She also had never really tried to be a part of many other sorts of artistic endeavors like being a part of theater or making music. Some of her teachers helped redirect her energy and gave her the chance to be somebody else for a little while.

The part she avoided writing the longest in “Somebody’s Daughter” was the part where she was in the hospital with her grandma. The death of her grandma is probably the thing she has touched on the least in therapy. One of the toughest parts of publishing this book is that her grandma is not going to see it or read it. But that is also one of the best parts, as Ashley knows that her grandma would not have liked it and would have reminded Ashley as much as possible.

Ashley began working on the memoir in the year 2018. She wrote most of her memoir at night, when she feels like she can hear herself the best. She drank tea and worked by candlelight, with movie scores providing her soundtrack and her husband (who is a fellow Ball State English major turned author) close by. He typically sits by her and reads. Ashley would get into these emotional sections and his presence was a reminder that she’s good, surrounded by love, and to just keep on writing.

“Somebody’s Daughter” is a memoir that was released in the year 2021. The story of a childhood being defined by the ever looming absence of her incarcerated dad and the path we have to take to both overcome and honor our origins.

For as long as Ashley can remember, she has put her dad on a pedestal. Despite having some vague memories of seeing him face-to-face, she believes that he is the one person in the whole world that understands her. She believes she understands him too. He is sensitive like her. An artist. Possibly even just as afraid of the dark. She is sure that one day they are going to be reunited again, and she will feel complete at last. There are just a few issues: he is in prison and she has no idea what he did to make him end up in there.

Through puberty, poverty, and the fraught relationship she has with her mom, Ashley goes back to her own image of her dad for encouragement and hope. She has no idea how to deal with the constant worries that keep her up nights, or how she is supposed to handle the changes in her body that draw some unwanted attention from men. Ashley, through her search for unconditional love, starts dating a boy that her mom loathes, and when the relationship turns sour, he assaults her. While still recovering from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, she at last learns why her dad is in prison. And here is where the story truly starts.

This memoir steps into the world of growing up a poor Black girl, and explores how complex and isolating that such a childhood can be. While she battles her own body and her environment, she provides a poignant coming-of-age recollection which speaks to finding the threads between what you were born into and who you are, as well as the complicated familial love which often times binds them.

Ashley does a fantastic job of capturing her experiences in a vulnerable, open, clear, and thoughtful voice. She is able to describe her memories of the past, as well as seat them in her experiences in the present tense. Ashley also masterfully portrays all the aspects of her incredibly complex childhood in the book. This is a magnificent, heartfelt coming of age memoir, where she writes with brilliant prose and raw honesty telling her difficult and painful story.

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