I finished this one, but I wasn't happy about it. It felt more like an attempt to capitalize on the so-called "age of the geek" than anything an actua...moreI finished this one, but I wasn't happy about it. It felt more like an attempt to capitalize on the so-called "age of the geek" than anything an actual geek might produce. I might be older and more organically "geeky" than the intended audience of teenage girls, but I don't see why teenage girls should have to suffer through this book.(less)
Chevalier is such a consistent good read, but she's never managed to knock my socks off. I liked this book, and I love the way Chevalier picks a real...moreChevalier is such a consistent good read, but she's never managed to knock my socks off. I liked this book, and I love the way Chevalier picks a real object of historical importance and works from there.
But mostly I just want to read a non-fiction book about Mary Annings, and not because this book was so amazing that I need to know more about these people. Mostly I just found the fictional bits of it (the friendships and the class issues and whether or not Mary was ever involved with any of the collectors) boring and want to know more about the fossils and the cranky old Englishmen who didn't know how to deal with them and were complete asses to the girl who made it all happen.(less)
I'm a little underwhelmed by this one. The twist (the terrible thing Louisa does that she believes to be the reason she gets locked up) wasn't hard to...moreI'm a little underwhelmed by this one. The twist (the terrible thing Louisa does that she believes to be the reason she gets locked up) wasn't hard to guess, and while Eagland pulls a bait and switch in regards to the guilty party (sort of), there weren't any surprises in this one.
Louisa was sort of tiresome, too. She wishes she were a boy! She wants to study! She wants to be a doctor just like her father! She doesn't do anything on her own to make her dreams happen, just hopes that her mother and brother will stop being disapproving!
Clearly, no one explained to her that all the really daring girls dress up as boys and go do whatever they want anyway.
The cover for this one is cool, with a very close up shot of the back of a corset, but the tag line is horrendous: "Treachery locks her away. Love is the key." Kill me now.(less)
Reichl says in her new afterward (this one was previously published as Not Becoming My Mother) that this book is "simply one side of a conversation",...moreReichl says in her new afterward (this one was previously published as Not Becoming My Mother) that this book is "simply one side of a conversation", and that everyone who reads it comes away from a different book. If we're getting picky, I would say that she just defined reading, didn't she?, but she's right with this one.
I haven't decided what I'm taking away from this one yet, but I am going to invite my grandmother out for lunch this weekend, and I think Reichl would consider that a success.(less)
I loved Collins' America's Women, so I'm excited to see what she does looking at more modern history.
Easily accessible while still comprehensive, this...moreI loved Collins' America's Women, so I'm excited to see what she does looking at more modern history.
Easily accessible while still comprehensive, this was not a quick read for me simply because some of the stories told by the women Collins interviewed were tough to deal with. This book frustrated me in the best possible way (much like Half the Sky) - it made me want to do something.(less)
It had it's moments, but nothing special. I knew it was outdated going in, but it showed, mainly through pop culture references - specifically discuss...moreIt had it's moments, but nothing special. I knew it was outdated going in, but it showed, mainly through pop culture references - specifically discussions of zines rather than websites - and the glaring lack of any commentary on Hillary Clinton. (She doesn't even make the index, though I could have sworn she was at least mentioned.)
The prologue (A Day Without Feminism) was a pointed, exaggerated look at what life was like in 1970, the year both authors were born, and their message is very clear - forget a debate over parental consent for abortions, back then a single woman would have trouble finding a landlord who would rent her an apartment. They certainly highlight all the low points, but they're not making anything up.
Unfortunately, the prologue got me all good and fired up and then rest of the book meandered around, petered off, and finally got plain old boring. There's good information here, but there's not much fun in the reading of it.(less)
An interesting and well written look at - as the title implies - women in pop culture. Douglas focused on the ERA for a couple chapters, something I a...moreAn interesting and well written look at - as the title implies - women in pop culture. Douglas focused on the ERA for a couple chapters, something I am apparently not as familiar with as I previously thought.
My only problem with the book is that it's over ten years old. She briefly discusses Hillary Clinton's stint as First Lady (a First Lady who didn't obey the rules), and I would love to see what she thinks about (former) Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. Not to mention all the other topics that could be discussed: Buffy, Britney, Desperate Housewives, BSG, Danica Patrick, Nancy Pelosi, Ann Coulter... the list goes on. But outdated or not, her look at the 50s-80s is well worth the read.(less)
I'm going to start right off by pointing out that the subtitle (Teenage Girls in Twentieth-Century Popular Culture) is a bit of a misnomer. "Teenage G...moreI'm going to start right off by pointing out that the subtitle (Teenage Girls in Twentieth-Century Popular Culture) is a bit of a misnomer. "Teenage Girls From 1930-1965" would be much more accurate, as the first 117 pages were devoted to Nancy Drew and her contemporaries, while the next 100 focused on Gidget, Patty Duke, Shirley Temple's various roles, all of which came out in the 50s or 60s. I was disappointed, as I was looking forward to discussions of, say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, My So-Called Life, and Britney Spears. (For the record, Buffy and Britney were mentioned three times each in the epilogue, while Angela Chase was never brought up. More on that in a second.)
I found Nash's writing to be dry and vague, and overly academic - though the book does appear to be aimed at academic circles rather than popular culture. She provided quite a few examples to back up her theory, most of which I was unfamiliar with, seeing as most of them predated my parents' adolescence, much less my own. Her theory was, boiled down to its simplest form, that popular culture is threatened by teenage girls because it doesn't understand them and believes them to be in opposition to the default cultural viewpoint, that of middle-aged white males. Nash theorizes that because the people producing popular entertainment see teenage girls as a threat to the patriarchy and all that it stands for, it marginalizes, ignores, or trivializes them, in large part by making them appear stupid or fetishizing their blooming sexuality - or both.
I can completely get behind her complaint that when books featuring strong, competent, three-dimensional, sympathetic, realistic, female characters are made into movies, they frequently lose all of those characteristics except female. She pointed out the Nancy Drew movies of the 1930s, where Nancy went from unnaturally smart - she knew the answer to everything, after all - to a blithering idiot. The ideas she had in the book were given to her boyfriend or her father, who she was regularly rescued by, in direct contradiction with the original text. More recent examples (both of which I am very fond of) include Anne Hathaway in both Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries, where the main female characters are both turned into silly, clumsy girls, obsessed with boys and noticeably less competent than their book counterparts. (Honestly, Anne, must you continue to ruin my favorite young adult novels?)
That said, the early slight of the Anne of Green Gables novels made me cranky. Yes, Ms. Nash, as Anne grew older, she matured. That's actually character development, rather than an anti-feminist message. If she had been as scatterbrained and naive as a mother of 5 as she was as a girl of 11, you would have made a big case about the dumbing down of an adult woman. Back away from my childhood favorite.
Those interested in the subject will find some good points here; those who are looking for a cranky feminist might find that as well. Those looking for some perspective on Buffy and Britney won't find much of anything. What I'd really like to know, though - were they left out because there hasn't been enough time to see what their impact on mainstream culture was? Or because they didn't fit with Nash's theory?(less)