2010-2011 Arts & Entertainment — 01 April 2011

New writer with ties to OHS speaks of obstacles, triumphs
By Lisa Lac

Members of Oakland High School’s Colored Girls Book Club pose with author Tenisha Gainey during her Mar. 24 visit to the group. Credit: Lisa Lac

On Mar. 24, guest author Tenisha Gainey visited Oakland High’s Colored Girls Book Club to talk about her 2010 book 19 Years Old and 19 Men Later: How someone truly loved me.

The book is a memoir of Gainey’s own complicated early life, during which she worked  as a dancer and as a prostitute. Each chapter ends with a reflection in which the author looks back at that stage of her life. Gainey was born in Lakewood, New Jersey. She is also the niece of O-High wellness center employee Cynthia Clark-Gainey.

“It gave me a great opportunity to learn what I shouldn’t do throughout college and high school,” said freshman Colored Girls Book Club member Terranika Adams. “[It showed that] you can make something of yourself.”

The book made an impact on many of the book club members. “It was really inspiring, because it shared that someone from so far down can be able to turn their life around,” said senior Selena Nero.

Gainey said that she has made $4000 from book sales so far.

“Although I’m not ‘colored,’ I feel like anyone can relate, no matter what race, gender, or background,” said freshman Daisy Saephan, a book club member.

Clark-Gainey, the author’s aunt, was also in attendance.

“I’m overjoyed that my niece was able to overcome barriers and difficult challenges in her life,” said Clark-Gainey. “I’m very pleased and proud.”

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