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
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).
Buzzfeed | 75 Books to Add to Your 2021 TBR List
"Ashley Ford’s much-awaited memoir chronicles her complicated relationship with her father...expect a deeply moving, nuanced story"
Time | The 21 Most Anticipated Books of 2021
"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"
Elle | 55 Books to Read in 2021
"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."
LitHub | Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021
"Expect to see SOMEBODY'S DAUGHTER make waves this year."
Cosmopolitan | These New Books Coming Out in 2021 Are Guaranteed to Make Your Reading List
"Her coming-of-age story gets at how to both acknowledge and break away from what we’re born into."
Garden and Gun | Top of 2021 Reading List for Southerners
"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."
Electric Literature | 43 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2021
"Her writing shines with extraordinary insight and grace, and Somebody’s Daughter is a book so many of you will want to read."
SheThePeople | Non-Fiction Books 2021: 27 Authors to Watch Out For
"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."
Boston.com | 21 Books to Look Out For in 2021, According to Local Experts
"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."
Lebanon-Express (OR) | Most Anticipated 2021 Books
"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."
"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
"Somebody's Daughter takes the idea of a coming-of-age story and smashes it on its head. A masterpiece of acceptance and exploration, of growth and forgiveness, and—maybe most importantly of all—learning how not to forgive. This is a story of boundaries and looking back on what has happened with a kind but understanding eye. Ashley C. Ford's talent is on full display, as is her heart." - Isaac Fitzgerald, author of the national bestselling children’s book 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 and who we are to the people laying claim to us, Somebody's Daughter is hard-earned storytelling, yes, but also 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
"Ashley C. Ford is not just a beautiful writer, she is a brilliant, thoughtful and compassionate writer. The book is an achingly honest account of a complicated childhood. There is heartache and grief but above all Somebody's Daughter is the portrait of someone determined to love deeply and to love well. Someone determined to honor the person they are meant to be. Someone with the clear-eyed courage and kindness to tell their story in service of a greater truth. We are so lucky Ashley chooses to share her wisdom with the world. I haven't stopped thinking about this book since I closed it and neither will you." - Aminatou Sow, co-author of Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close