How to be a Woman – An impetuous book review

10 Aug

Two things about book reviews:

1. They’re supposed to be timely (i.e. the best book reviewer is the hipster of book reviewers “I read that book before it was copyedited,” or some such nonsense). Already missed the boat on that one.

2. You’re supposed to finish the book first. HA hahahha ahahahah HA ha. Finish it before I pass judgment? Please.

BUT when I get excited about a book, it’s difficult to stop me (which has resulted in many an impulsive surprise package from Amazon arriving on friends’ doorsteps before I realized the first half of the book was so much better than the second and really I didn’t need them to read it so we could discuss after all… but I digress).

That said, I’m about 1/4 of the way into Caitlin Moran’s book, How to be a Woman, and well… LOVES IT!

A snippet (that I think does a pretty good job of summing up both Moran and the “so what??” of the book):

“…while chipping in your two cents on what it’s actually like – rather than what we pretend it’s like – to be a woman is vital, we still also need a bit of analysis-y, argument-y, ‘this needs to change-y’ stuff. You know. Feminism.” 

Pithy, intelligent and bold (ugh, bold… why is it “bold” to talk about periods? bleeding happens, moving on), Moran’s light prose style is engaging and certainly has a point: Raising awareness about an issue only gets you so far. It’s like those pink spatulas: Hey look! I support Breast Cancer awareness while I ice my cupcakes! But if you’re not icing cupcakes for a fundraiser to support Breast Cancer research, what ARE you really doing? (And yes, I LOVE my Save the TaTas t-shirt and wear it with pride because raising awareness and working towards a cure go hand in hand). The point is: raising awareness just isn’t enough.

I will keep you updated on my progress with the book, but so far I would just like to say that the dust jacket blurb from Vanity Fair misses the point. Moran’s book is not “The British version of Tina Fey’s Bossypants” (no disrespect to Tina because she’s awesome and my hero and her book was wonderful) precisely because of that quote I typed out for y’all earlier – How to be a Woman isn’t a collection of vignettes about Moran’s life and struggles as a professional woman meant to inform and entertain; it’s a collection of vignettes about Moran’s life and struggles as a professional woman meant to incense and incite and just generally be incendiary because why else would her first chapter be 20+ pages entitled “I start bleeding!”??

For more fun with Moran, visit those lovely ladies over at the Hairpin!


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