Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Review: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

From Goodreads:
In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.(
Writing
First of all, how is this the first I've heard of Roxane Gay?  I mean, technically, I guess I first heard of her when I read about Untamed State, her latest novel, in Library Journal a few months ago.  But this is the first time I've heard of her non-fiction and it is absolutely amazing.  If you are into lady things, especially lady things in entertainment, popular culture, and politics, I don't think this is something you can afford to miss.

Gay's take on feminism, particularly feminism in the world of literature and entertainment is spot-on.  It's compulsively readable, but so smart and thought-provoking at the same time.  I loved how she takes on actual popular culture in an accessible way, making feminism readable for everyone, not just scholars.  Even on topics where I disagreed with her point of view, I respected the way she worded her ideas and the talent behind the writing.  I could read her all day long.

Entertainment Value
If you can't tell by now, this book blew me away.  I absolutely devoured it and felt like mourning when it was over.  There were certainly areas where I didn't fully agree with Gay, but I couldn't help but respect her writing and point of view even when we differed.  And I loved the way some of my views were challenged by her cultural analysis.  She helped me think critically about topics that I hadn't given much consideration before.  My one concern would be that I'm not sure how well all of the essays will age.  Twenty years from now will a cultural take-down of Django Unchained still be relevant?  That said, I think she overcomes that limitation by clearly critiquing the ideas that lay behind these cultural artifacts, rather than just critiquing the movies, books, or shows themselves.

Overall
Buy it.  Normally I'm all about the library, but this is one you're going to want to have on your shelves, trust me.  I mean, go ahead and check it out if you can't afford it because it must be read, but I promise you're going to want to own it.  Amazing.  You'll see this again on my best of 2014 list, I guarantee it.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Harper Perennial for providing me with a copy to review.

1 comment:

  1. Your review has made me so excited to read this!!! And it not being relevant in the future because of current pop culture just sets her up to be able to write updated versions maybe...? ;)

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