I was so excited when this collection was announced; I think I pledged to the Kickstarter campaign within the first two days (and I’m not going to lie, it is quite thrilling to see your name in the back of a book with people that you know and authors you admire.) A collection of essays that explores different areas of feminism and life as a woman, this is one of those books that felt sorely needed in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump and the uncertainty of the impact of Brexit.
The collection of essays is pretty varied and I would say that most women will identify with at least something in the collection. For me, it was Laura Waddell’s essay about working class girls and their representation, which spoke to me about my very working class childhood and adolescence (and the prejudice I still experience today because of the sound of my voice or the after-effects of my northern, working class background- even at the age of 33), or Becca Inglis’ ‘Love in the Time of Melancholia’, which explores the legacy of one of my teenage idols, Courtney Love.
But my eyes were opened up, too, to the issues facing the LGBTQ community and women of colour, of the limbo in which society places those considered ‘other’ or ‘different’, and how this is currently going through a period of change, and often not a positive one. It is important, this book is saying, that we work together and embrace each other if we want to affect change in a scary world.
One of my favourite essays were Laura Lam’s exploration of the generations of women in her family and the trauma that echoes through the years, which she and her mother are working to heal. Another, Zeba Talkhani’s ‘The Difficulty of Being Good’, explores the way in which she has navigated societal expectations of Muslim women in different countries and how this has helped her discover her own sense of self and acceptance of who she is. Both are beautiful essays touching on very different subjects; both made me feel that I had read something profoundly moving and important.
As it is, I have already bought another copy of the book for a friend. She’s busy and doesn’t get to read much, so I’m hoping she can dip in and out of the essays as and when she has time. I hope she finds something of comfort and anger in there, too.