PositiveTimes Literary Supplement (UK)Her nuanced analysis of complex problems feels fresh. Is it utopian, though? Socialism in other societies has not solved oppression, but Srinivasan is right that the status quo is failing many of us.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksKate Kirkpatrick shows why Beauvoir’s life and ideas are worth revisiting, and its philosophical richness is one of the book’s greatest strengths. It introduces Beauvoir’s ideas and method, shows how they developed, clarifies those that are original to Beauvoir, and highlights Beauvoir’s criticisms of Sartre’s philosophy. Kirkpatrick does so in a manner that’s accessible and steady, making it likely to appeal not only to readers new to Beauvoir, but also those who learned about Beauvoir in the traditional way. After the opening chapter introducing her approach and justification, Kirkpatrick follows a fairly standard biographical trajectory from birth to death ... Kirkpatrick’s discussion of Beauvoir’s diaries is the historical highlight of the book ... Despite the blurred lines between Beauvoir and Sartre’s thinking, Kirkpatrick methodically draws out many instances where they split intellectually and emotionally ... Kirkpatrick’s style...provokes readers by asking questions about Beauvoir’s actions and motivations. It’s a bold move to infuse a biography with these sorts of conjectures, and some may seem to be a stretch ... Beauvoir’s life is a fascinating story in itself, but Becoming Beauvoir also shows how society has been grossly unfair in its judgment of her. In a subtle way, the book also challenges readers to reflect on their own prejudices and how society continues to apply ad feminam arguments to women more generally. Beauvoir is well overdue for the philosophical credit she deserves, and this book is an important step in correcting the narrative.
RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksWhile other biographies have been written about these characters Bakewell’s book weaves together an ambitious number of stories and complicated concepts in an unusually vibrant, erudite, and compulsively readable manner.