Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit

The Mother of All Questions
In this follow-up to Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit offers commentary on women who refuse to be silenced, misogynistic violence, the fragile masculinity of the literary canon, the gender binary, the recent history of rape jokes, and much more.
Solnit is quickly becoming one of my favorite feminist essayists between this collection and Men Explain Things to Me.  I appreciate that she doesn't take a purely scholarly approach, but she also doesn't use as much humor as others use, which gives her voice a seriousness that is sometimes lacking in popular feminist writing.  She's funny at moments, but she's also completely serious about the difficult issues women and minorities are facing, and she's not using jokes to soften the intensity of her feelings.  She's obviously a talented writer and these essays show her skill with words and rhetoric well.

Entertainment Value
As I mentioned above, Solnit writes for a popular audience, but she doesn't do so with as much levity as other popular feminist authors, which I appreciated.  She does, however, use some humor, and her essays are easy to read and understand, regardless of how familiar you are with feminist theory.  I loved the range of topics she covered, from intersectionality to literature to film and I particularly enjoyed the essays covering rape culture.

If you read and enjoyed Men Explain Things to Me or if you are a fan of popular feminist writing, it's a must-read.  I think it will also appeal to those who enjoy reading feminist websites like Jezebel and Bustle and to those who have a left-leaning or feminist mindset and are interested in current events.


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