RaveLibrary Journal... forthright prose and clear, insightful observations about experiencing and learning from trauma. The memoir reads almost like a novel, and each voice that emerges through the dialogue shimmers with complexity ... While the moments of racial and gender-based violence are difficult to read, the book ultimately promotes a sense of hope and healing.
Natalia Mehlman Petrzela
RaveLibrary JournalA compassionate yet critical look at the history of America’s obsession with fitness ... A highly recommended book that is designed to strengthen readers’ activist muscles so that they can create more inclusive, accessible spaces for exercise, along with fewer metrics that immediately exclude certain bodies from social definitions of health.
RaveLibrary JournalDisruptive, tender, and beautiful, this book is a reversal of women’s apologies and a demand for more.
RaveLibrary JournalA much-needed counternarrative for the fictions of the Midwest that perpetuate and continue to engender an American cultural mythology that conceals harsh realities of colonialism, oppression, and patriarchalism ... A powerful, provocative narrative, designed to remind readers that it is often silence that empowers oppression, allowing it the power to endure in unchallenged ways.
Nona Willis Aronowitz
RaveLibrary JournalThe subtitle, though, is what takes the book from the personal to the polemical—the text delivers as much of the promised truth, pleasure, and revolution as it does depictions of what is bad about the current state of sex ... For some, Aronowitz’s prose style may feel too conversational. The danger of this is that it may also feel antiquated before the subjects she covers are socially addressed and no longer in need of a compendium like this ... Aronowitz’s chatty tone and corpuscular language explodes myths in ways that will help readers clearly recognize the lies they’ve been fed. Highly recommended.
RaveLibrary JournalMoving ... House shines particularly when writing about her past and speculating on how her community would treat her, and her son, if they fully knew about her history of addiction. With care and sensitivity, she depicts herself at different points in her life: as a curious child, as a woman navigating rebab, and, ultimately, as a mother to a son looking for answers ... A powerful, brilliant exploration of motherhood and its inextricable links to the other selves comprising a mother; those pieces that society doesn’t accept as part of the entrenched narrative about the meaning and purpose of motherhood.
RaveLibrary JournalPhillips explores and explodes the interpenetrations among motherhood and authorship—as a profession and a passion—through analyses of women novelists ... Phillips’s book is engaging and accessible, especially when carefully discussing the private life of Lorde (a Black lesbian mother) and its influence on her writing; black-and-white portraits of the novelists are a highlight ... These constructions are far from new, yet Phillips’s powerfully researched, thoughtful, sensitive examinations will be of interest to literary scholars as well as to general readers grappling with their own oscillating creative and pragmatic selves.
RaveLibrary JournalFebos’s newest book is not a story about her body; rather, it is written through and with her sexual and physical experiences in such a way that it radically destabilizes boundaries between meaning, intelligibility, corporeality, intimacy, and so much more—all through the practice of storytelling. This is a book for both writers and readers who feel like their bodies are telling stories, even if they do not ever want to put those stories into words ... Wide-ranging in its theoretical and historical breadth yet intimate in all ways, Febos’s book offers the tools readers need to identify, access, process, and articulate hard-won stories of trauma and of love that their flesh holds.
RaveLibrary Journal[Attenberg] weaves together stories from her childhood with moments of raw self-examination and social critique in ways that pull her readers close to her, while always reminding them that they cannot truly share in the struggle, the fight that makes her stories so urgent ... What Attenberg has learned about being a writer and a human offers a valuable lesson for readers seeking wholeness, healing, self-expression, and strength. The result is a humorous memoir of transformation that will delight a range of readers.
RaveLibrary Journal... possesses a careful dignity always on the edge of cracking open ... offers glittery shards of optimism among broken ruins of lives and loves, perfectly arranged and carefully rendered. Let these essays unfold in their perfect arrangement of emotions, presented in taut and unflinching yet lovely prose that begs to be felt to the bone. Readers will be glad her essays, as she says in the introduction, won’t die and that Patchett offers glittery splinters of hope that they too can persevere ... For the author’s many fans and anyone who loves beautiful writing.
RaveLibrary JournalHill’s new book defies boundaries by bringing together elements of memoir with law, social analysis, and polemic—delivered with the precision of a powerful lawyer and the vulnerability of someone who became a target of merciless media scrutiny after testifying to being sexually harassed by now–Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In telling her story and situating it in the context of 1991, as well as the context of 2021, Hill (social policy, law, and women’s studies, Brandeis Univ.) demonstrates the importance of acknowledging that problems once thought of as individual are in fact \'cultural and endemic\' ... Alongside her own experiences and her response to the Me Too movement, Hill offers a penetrating analysis of the racism, sexism, and mistrust that Black women face in the U.S. She calls for an end to gender-based violence and asks readers to put forth the effort to enact societal change ... With searing insight, Hill shows how much and how little things have changed since 1991. Her book gives hope, inspires activism, and discourages complacency.
RaveLibrary JournalBurke writes an important memoir that powerfully illustrates a deeply personal political movement and shows how hashtags and social media can amplify the reiterative yet individual tragedies that are perpetuated by systems and by individuals emboldened by those systems ... Painful and personal, yet beautiful and necessary, this book deserves to be read for its political significance and literary merit. Burke’s writing shines when she describes finding her voice as an aspiring activist.
Rachel B. Vogelstein and Meighan Stone
PositiveLibrary JournalLike the Me Too movement itself, this book\'s narrative is not linear; it draws its strength from the authors\' awareness that global efforts are not monolithic or one-size-fits-all and that the democratization of communication platforms doesn\'t always make it easier to ignite positive change ... Complete with a broad selection of resources for advocacy, this call-to-action will spark the interest of aspiring activists.
RaveLibrary Journal[Sherrell] writes with clarity and emotion about how proximity to tragedy doesn’t ultimately make one privy to it, and suggests that there is a muteness, an ambiguity surrounding so much of the reality we live with, counterbalanced always by the relentless noise of the media. Sherrell has written a compelling, urgent work which will find an eager audience among fans and draw in others interested in environmental justice. This is the type of coming-of-age book one must read in order to understand what it means to live with clear-eyed awareness of the climate disaster while also continuing to move forward ... Brave, honest, and bold, Sherrell’s book is neither blithely optimistic nor fatalistic and instead shows how readers can respond to climate change with circumspection. It should be read alongside the work of climate activists like Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin who provide practical models for changing the narrative, even when we know that changes won’t magically engender a happy ending.
RaveLibrary Journal... vulnerable yet voluble personal essays ... She writes with humor and power about seeking approval from white men because of their aura of authority, and she telescopes out of specific experiences to explore how we uncomfortably navigate society to carve out our own valuable space within a social hierarchy ... She\'s notably honest about navigating various contradictions in her life and demonstrates how the insistence on \'either/or\' rigidity limits relationships, both between and within individuals ... Nolan\'s writing on identity and self-worth is captivating from start to finish; her words will resonate long after the last page.
RaveLibrary Journal... reads like a conversation with a friend; a friend who drags you to yoga class and calls you out when your negative self-talk functions as microaggression ... This is a book for all readers, as a practical manual for embodied spiritual activism, a guide to decolonizing wellness, a tool for recognizing privilege, and a reminder that yoga isn’t the corporate fantasy businesses make it out to be. Essential reading.
Nancy Jo Sales
PositiveLibrary JournalHer book is especially valuable in its refusal to accept social scripts related to women\'s aging bodies; it might strip away some of the apprehension women have about using technology in smart and safe ways ... Refreshingly candid throughout, Sales\'s memoir and investigation of the history of love and intimacy will engage readers who have found themselves dating later than they expected.
RaveLibrary JournalThe author dedicates the book to \'bodies in peril,\' from individuals impacted by the European migrant crisis of 2015, to everyone impacted by COVID-19. It’s a statement that showcases the balance that runs throughout this book, with a recognition of how vulnerable we are, especially when our bodies belong to categories treated as disposable ... There are moments in this book that may feel too theoretical; yet, when Laing explores and expresses the ways in which our bodies are full of power, she offers a form of support we could all use more of as we navigate our own bodies and relearn what it means to value them. This is worthwhile, reflective reading.
PositiveLibrary Journal... quirky ... stories that seamlessly blend social critique, humor, and pain ... A unique blend of memoir and social history that should have broad appeal to anyone who has breasts or has ever worn a bra.
RaveLibrary Journal... raw, gut-wrenching, and honest in its exposure of how—and why—women find themelves trapped in the stories that comprised their childhoods, with particular attention to the shame that comes from believing that they should have known better ... [Selvaratnam] writes with tremendous personal vulnerability, yet never loses sight of the broader policies and data surrounding domestic violence, which lends her work strength as a memoir and as a polemic. By taking Schneiderman’s own language and using it as a framework for exploring the complexity of domestic violence, Selvaratnam has successfully undermined the damaging rhetoric designed to prevent women from recognizing themselves as experiencing abuse, especially in situations where there is an imbalance of power ... A searing, yet sensitive account of vulnerability and redemption that will find a wide audience.
PositiveLibrary Journal... luminous, complex ... proves a welcome addition to women’s narratives with its willingness to address poverty, sexuality, spirituality, and the difficult choices women are forced to make when navigating oppressive systems ... In a time when the wars waged on women’s sexual bodies are happening in multiple, intersecting ways, especially through individual organizations and agencies’ attempts to stop women from asking for or receiving what they are legally allowed to request, Parravani’s story is cautionary and a call to action; as personal as it is political.
RaveLibrary JournalEspecially astute is her chapter on the rise of digital feminism and online activism, as she spotlights pioneering ways in which specialists such as Barbara Ann O\'Leary worked in the forefront of digital technology, while remaining aware of the digital divide. Levenstein adds nuances that will provide rich space for current feminist theorists, scholars, and activists to dig deeper into feminist history, and its social ramifications in a digital era ... A valuable contribution to the history of feminism at its grassroots and global levels, as well as a message to readers about how difficult it is to anticipate what online tools and developments will emerge as feminism continues to grow, along with the material, political, and intellectual issues abutting it.
RaveLibrary Journal... it’s in her descriptions of parenting that Moran is at her rawest and most vulnerable, as she emphasizes how hard it is to realize we can’t save others (we can hardly keep ourselves afloat, after all) while also revealing that it’s enough to realize we need to make changes when (not if) we fail ... Moran brings readers along during her fallible and human days, showing how we can all relate to feelings of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. A must-read.
PositiveLibrary JournalAn informative work for readers interested in human rights, free speech, censorship, and how they interact.
RaveLibrary JournalCrawford explores the effects of sexual assault with visceral force and honesty ... While the memoir itself is beautifully written, the book also provides a very real corrective to the oversimplification we often make when we think that telling a story, bringing a case to trial, or \'winning\' in some public way is enough to restore what has been taken from a survivor of sexual assault ... This brave, brilliant memoir reveals the multifaceted effects of trauma on a survivor’s life, the damage done by some of the ways in which disclosures happen, and the power of finding a voice on one’s own terms, if and when one feels supported, sustained, and able to speak.
RaveLibrary Journal[Calhoun\'s] research offers women ways to look at but not devalue their own experiences; she addresses the fact that women often minimize their own struggles instead of recognizing how their lack of sleep, along with other physical and mental pressures, constitute legitimate crises in their own right ... Calhoun’s latest will be useful for those interested in feminist theory, especially insofar as it intersects with age and class, as well as a useful resource for people struggling to find balance in their personal and professional lives.
RaveLibrary Journal... heart-wrenching, hilarious, and provocative essays ... This is a profoundly moving book that doesn’t let up and is well worth the emotion it is sure to engender in readers.
RaveLibrary JournalTravisano crafts a masterly biography that explores the enduring tension between the \'mannerly correctness\' and passion characteristic of the life and work of Elizabeth Bishop ... unfolds the many layered interconnections between Bishop’s poetry and close relationships with fellow writers, artists, friends, and lovers, with sympathy, subtlety, and acute attention to detail, especially when revealing Bishop’s quests for meaning in her extensive travels, illuminated through her words—always alongside what she had lost or feared to lose. Focusing on literary influences such as Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell, as well as the Brazilian writers who captivated Bishop later in her career, Travisano securely positions his subject in conversation with major literary figures without losing sight of her more intimate, quieter relationships ... This definitive account of Bishop’s contributions to American letters will attract both casual readers of her poetry as well as academics with more specialized knowledge of her work.
RaveLibrary JournalFrom Circe and Cleopatra to the women of the TV series The Craft...her prose moves seamlessly from feminist theory and pop culture analysis to damning real-life examples of the dangers women face because of the perceived threat of their sexuality. This much-needed work is as suitable for university courses on feminism, gender, and new media studies as it is for readers looking for an accessible analysis of the perils women encounter when society transforms them into monsters who need to be destroyed rather than seeing them as individuals whose power takes on important agency ... A vital read on femininity and sexuality that speaks to our past, present, and future.
RaveLibrary Journal...incredible personal reflections within each essay...reflect Dancyger’s goal of showing anger as and for itself, rather than suggesting it is a means to an end, a political catalyst, or an emotion that—to be valid—must be linked to a larger purpose ... Dancyger wants her readers to understand that anger is justified and/or not in need of justification because of the patriarchal structures that have shaped women’s lives, voices, and sense of self ... These powerful essays strike a balance between memoir and theory and will be useful in courses on feminist theory as they provide highly individualized accounts of women’s experiences.
PanLibrary Journal... a timely book that attempts to respond to the #MeToo movement by bringing women’s bodies, their sexualities, and their experiences to the forefront ... Unfortunately, Taddeo’s style leaves something to be desired in terms of objectivity and authenticity. The author explains that she’s removed herself from all but the prolog and epilog, yet each chapter is filled with interpretations, assumptions, and authorial intervention. Some of her casual phrasing about how someone is not \'the type of woman to take pleasure in\' street harassment will rankle readers familiar with feminist theory. Audiences interested in works about women’s sexuality may find the three stories gathered here compelling. Unfortunately, Taddeo’s use of second-person narration in the chapters on these women mixed with more journalistic writing feels more like a tabloid than a true excavation of her subjects’ lives ... Readers of women’s history and of memoir will be better served elsewhere.
RaveLibrary JournalReaders will discover in these pages an author as vibrant as her writings, and find themselves returning to her work with fresh eyes. Alcott scholars will encounter a liveliness if not substantive new information.
PositiveLibrary JournalA fascinating narrative that is as much about the volitile ways in which gender intersects with cultural practices as it is about her provocative subject ... Suitable for readers interested in Romantic and Victorian poetry as well as those seeking out lost female writers.