The writer, historian, and activist collects here seven feminist essays tackling subjects ranging from rape culture to "mansplaining," from French sex scandals to marriage and the nuclear family, from Virginia Woolf to colonialism.
Solnit was the perfect writer to tackle the subject: Her prose style is so clear and cool that surely no one can have caricatured her as a shrieking harpy? ... There are only seven essays in this book, but the subjects range from the metaphors of Virginia Woolf to the sexual harassment suffered by female protesters in the Arab spring; perhaps the most disturbing is a piece mirroring Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s approach to his hotel maids with the IMF’s treatment of developing countries. I finished this book and immediately wanted to buy all the author’s other works. In [the] future, I would like Rebecca Solnit to Explain Things to Me.
The seven essays in Solnit’s book consist of politic-bending criticisms...that expose the inner workings of patriarchy in areas of life where it dominates most, and where meaning and happiness are most often derived: relationships and family, work and the economy, and domestic and public safety ... Solnit extrapolates...with wit to reveal how women’s credibility is often questioned. She uses language in a confident, assured manner, and even when she applies humor, her writing offers something profound[.]
At 124 pages, this collection is both an easy read and a difficult one. Easy because Solnit’s writing is so eloquently full of both grace and fury—not something many writers can pull off; difficult because of the storm of appalling facts. However it is definitely a book for both genders. As she points out, acts of silencing and sexual assault shouldn’t be framed as just a problem for women, but one that should be recognized and addressed by all.