A moving and vivid memoir of a young girl—long before her starring role in the Degrassi series—who was always switching between worlds, wanting only to be loved
When Anais Granofsky’s parents meet in the early 1970s, they are foreign and fascinating to each other. Stanley is the son of a very wealthy Toronto Jewish family; Jean is one of fifteen children from a poor Black Methodist family, direct descendants of the freed Randolph slaves. When Jean becomes pregnant at nineteen, Stanley doesn’t anticipate being cut off by his parents. Nor does the couple anticipate that Stanley, soon to rename himself Fakeer, will find his calling in the spiritual teachings of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh on an ashram in India.
The Girl in the Middle is the story of a child who spends her life navigating between two very different worlds. Alone, Anais and her mother teetered on the poverty line, sharing a mattress in a single room in social housing in Toronto, while her grandparents lived a twenty-minute car ride away on the mansion-lined Bridle Path. As Anais grows up, she spends weekends having lunch with her grandmother by the pool, while during the week, she and her mother often don’t know where their next meal will come from, even after Fakeer’s return. Anais realizes that if she wants to be loved, she has to switch identities to please each of the adult women in her family. It isn’t until she gets a role in the TV series Degrassi Junior High that Anais finds a third world—her own—and begins to define an identity for herself.
The Girl in the Middle offers a powerful lens to explore how two families, one white and one Black, faced systemic oppression spanning multiple generations and came out at opposite economic classes—and how they clashed when they shared a granddaughter.
With compassion and vivid storytelling, Granofsky shares her experience of living in opposite worlds, and demonstrates how generational shame, grief and prejudice ultimately lead to love and forgiveness.
About the author
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.
"Heartfelt and candid debut." — Publishers Weekly
"A heartwarming and heartbreaking taste of what it is like for one’s body to be a border between race, class and estranged families. With the visceral sensibility of an adult she tells us the story of how her families converged and broke apart, leaving behind one magical person who rarely got the chance to live life as a child. " — Catherine Hernandez, author of Scarborough and Crosshairs, screenwriter of Scarborough the film
"With a big heart, warmth, and compassion, Granofsky takes us 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 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
“A brilliant debut. Girl In the Middle is an evocative telling of Granofsky’s lived experiences with the “in-betweenness” 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, author of the award-winning memoir, Dear Current Occupant