Jess Phillips seems to be a bit of a Marmite politician- people either love her or hate her. I’m obviously in the latter camp, as I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw it had been published. I’m deeply fascinated by politics (obv) and I admire Jess’ willingness to speak up in Parliament, especially on issues that affect women, and I wanted to read a book that promised to explore what it’s like to be a woman in the seat of government, as well as in wider society. (As an aside, my grandma has asked me more than once if I’d like to be an MP- on the one hand, yes, but on the other hand, it terrifies me. This book made me feel a bit more confident that I could get involved in politics.)
This book is funny and brutally honest. Jess is three years older than me and from a similar background; I understand where she’s coming from AND enjoyed the pop culture references. She’s a natural cheerleader for women and I felt encouraged that I could throw off the doubts I have about myself and really achieve something with my life- which is really important as I’m about to leave my job of ten years. This book made me believe that, if I could channel the energy and confidence of a mediocre man, I could literally do ANYTHING (I just have to decide what that is.) Jess urges us to speak up, speak out and be proactive. She also writes beautifully about the work of Jo Cox and the support networks women form in parliament, often across party lines. I feel inspired and brave as a result of reading this book.
It’s rare that a book speaks to me in the way that this one did. Maybe it’s one of those ‘right time, right book’ types of situations, but I came away believing that I am capable of being a good person, a good mum, a good employee- and a cheerleader of other women along the way.