The Girl in the Middle: Growing Up Between Black and White, Rich and Poor (Paperback)
In this poignant and timely memoir—written with the searing power of Beautiful Struggle and Born a Crime—Degrassi Junior High star Anais Granofsky contemplates the lingering impact of a childhood spent in two opposite and warring worlds.
Though recognized around the world for her role as Lucy Hernandez on the hit show Degrassi, Anais Granofsky’s true childhood story is largely unknown. Growing up, Anais was caught between two vastly different worlds: her father, Stanley, came from a wealthy, prominent, white Jewish family in Toronto. Her mother, Jean, was one of 15 children from a poor Black Methodist family in Ohio directly descended from freed Randolph slaves. When Anais’s parents met at Antioch College in the early 1970s and soon had their first child, they didn’t anticipate being cut off by the wealthy Granofskys, or that Stanley would find his calling in the spiritual teaching of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, change his name to Fakeer, and leave his family for an ashram in India.
Young Anais and her mother teetered on the abyss of poverty, sharing a mattress in a single room in social housing in Toronto, while her grandparents lived in a mansion that was 20 minutes away. As Anais grew up, she spent weekends with her wealthy Granofsky grandparents. On Saturdays and Sundays she would wear expensive clothes and eat lunch by the pool. In the weeks between, she and her mother lived day by day penniless, rarely knowing where their next meal would come from. From her earliest youth, Anais realized that if she wanted to be loved, she had to keep her two lives separate, learning to code switch between her Jewish identity on the weekend and her Black one during the week.
Her life was compartmentalized, until at age 12, Anais was cast in the internationally successful television show Degrassi Junior High.
The Girl in the Middle is a tale of two vastly different families and the granddaughter they shared and clashed over. Compassionate and vivid, Anais’s story is a powerful lens revealing two divided families and the systematic, generational oppression that separated them. As Anais shares her experiences growing up in opposing worlds, she offers a heart-wrenching exploration of generational trauma, love, shame, grief, and prejudice—and essential insight for healing and acceptance.
ANAIS GRANOFSKY is an actor, director, producer and writer. Best known for her role as Lucy Fernandez on Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, she has directed and starred in a number of films. She is also developing a fictional TV series loosely based on her childhood. The Girl in the Middle is Granofsky’s first book.
"With a big heart, warmth, and compassion, Granofsky takes us alongside on a ride through the extremes she experienced while growing up, from teetering on the edge of poverty to cruising in a salmon pink Cadillac. This book is so special because it shows how larger historical forces, like racism and systemic oppression, affect families at a personal level. I loved it." — Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal
"A brilliant debut. Girl In the Middle is an evocative telling of Granofsky’s lived experiences with the “inbetweenness” one can feel when forced to straddle two very different worlds. Girl In the Middle explores race, oppression, class, and familial tension in such a refreshing way, while lovingly challenging the traditional Black mother-daughter relationship. Through a desire to redefine home, curiosity becomes an unstoppable vessel for constructing a new sense of self. With lush, untethered storytelling this intimate book reminds us that searching for the small traces of ourselves in those closest to us can and should be a lifelong journey." — Chelene Knight
“A deeply felt chronicle of a wild childhood. Granofsky writes with heart and forgiveness about a scrappy kid pinballing between worlds who becomes fearlessly, gloriously herself.” — Katrina Onstad, author of Stay Where I Can See You