Book Review: The Great Books Foundation’s Her Own Accord


The Great Books Foundation is an independent nonprofit 501 (c)(3) educational organization that works to encourage “open discussion of literature that promotes civil discourse, civic engagement, and social justice.” With the creation of reading and discussion programs for children and adults, The Great Books Foundation fosters an inquisitive approach to literature for readers of all walks of life.

Her Own Accord is a new collection of short fiction, non-fiction and poetry assembled and edited by The Great Books Foundation.

The first page of each section gives the reader an idea of what they’ll encounter in that portion of the book. Intended to frame the reading experience of each section, these pages prepare Her Own Accord for use in classrooms or book clubs. If you’re not looking for a directed reading experience, this text is not for you.

The team behind Her Own Accord creates an intersectional representation of feminist literature. Great examples include ZZ Packer’s “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere,” which addresses LGBT relationships and Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif,” which confronts race-based assumptions. The collection contains both living and dead writers who represent a wide array of backgrounds and opinions unified by feminist ideals.

The fiction and the narrative nonfiction were the stand-out highlights of the book; though I wanted to like the poetry, none of it really stuck with me.

“In a world that is often at odds with the presence of women, it is a matter of survival to believe in ‘us.’ To fiercely hold on to our right to exist, not just as mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, and wives, but simply as who we are and who we desire to be—as individuals, who also happen to be women” (Introduction, xi). Overall, Her Own Accord succeeds in provoking thought by encouraging reflection on gender roles and simply the nature of womanhood. This is a great read for book groups or situations where discussion is the order of the day.

Picture of the author
Brianna Kratz

Brianna Kratz has a B.A. in English Writing from Illinois Wesleyan University where she learned the importance of "the poetic turn," the difference between thee and you, and how to read Middle English. She lives on the Internet where you can find her on Twitter and Lens & Ink.