5 stars because of how much it affected me. Obviously it's not a perfect book, but for me, these types of issues really matter, really touch me and fe...more5 stars because of how much it affected me. Obviously it's not a perfect book, but for me, these types of issues really matter, really touch me and feel important, and for a while I've been wanting to find a way to help. This book felt like exactly what I needed.
It feels almost embarrassing to love this book. It feels so obvious, so typical, so privileged white American of me. I fear my review will sound uneducated and naive, and I think that's true about me when it comes to international affairs, unfortunately. Of course I knew some of the things in this book, but not to the level explained here. I've never been faced with it like this before. Many times I actually found myself questioning the veracity of some of the stories and claims, but I feel like you just kind of have to believe it?
There were times that the stories in this book were so heavy on me that I had to just put it down and try to rub the knowledge out of my eyes. It feels like too much to know. I would just cry, knowing the things I know about the world now. You wish you could stay ignorant of it all. It's too much. It's unspeakable.
I agree with the authors, and they are very convincing, that issues facing women worldwide are of paramount importance, and so many problems in the world facing all people will be vastly improved if we improve the situation for women. I agree that these things are not given the attention they deserve, and that that is a horrible failure on everyone's part, and this NEEDS to change.
I am so impressed at the bravery of the authors going into these situations, and obviously, the character of the people profiled, living these situations.
I've read some other reviews detailing some possible problems about the book, that rang true with me. Someone mentioned that it was "written by white people for white people" and there is the sense that these women are damsels in distress and all the men are barbarians, and we Americans are the saviors. I can kind of see that, but not entirely, b/c I don't feel like the authors really portrayed things that way. I feel they did a lot of acknowledging the complexities of the situations, the cultures, the fact that people from these countries are the ones that do the most effective work in solving the problems, the fact that not all the men are horrible, that it's a cultural cycle, that the women are incredibly strong. I think they acknowledge, too, that there are problems with the feeling that we Americans can swoop in and solve things. I think they deal with the subtleties more than some people suggest, but again, I feel so ignorant about these things that I'm not confident in any opinion I am forming about it all.
It's complicated. There's even a quote in the book I think from some policy maker from Africa, referring to Western aid, saying something like "for God's sake please just stop." So is the solution to stop all aid and leave everyone else on their own? That doesn't feel right. When I see how unfairly lucky I am to have been born in the situation and place that I've been born into, it does not feel right to just ignore these women who really don't seem to have the power or resources in their situations to have any kind of life that I have. This sounds kind of horrible. I don't want to sound like I am better than anyone else, b/c I don't think that. But socio-economically, I am WAY luckier. Having given birth twice, for example, now I see how fortunate I have been to have the medical care I had. I don't know what would have happened to me if I were born somewhere else. This is an issue that feels so wrong. Women bring every person into this world and the things they have to suffer because of that - it's not fair. It's not right. It needs to be helped. It should be improved in the US too.
I don't think Americans are saviors. But when you think that we can spend our money on a piece of candy for our kids whenever we want, or new boots, or nailpolish or ipads, and I have time to sit online and review a book, and people elsewhere can't go to school, women with fistulas are abandoned and reviled, all these horrible things- we definitely can and should do SOMETHING. Even if it feels condescending. There is no reason that so many people in the world should be so disgustingly wealthy and other people have to deal with the unspeakable things put forth in this book.
My main doubts here revolve around how the authors portray China. I know the authors know a ton about China and I know next to nothing, but they start the book talking a lot about the prostitution problem in China, for example, then later in the book seem to kind of suggest that sweat shops and factory work are kind of good for the plight of women world wide and we need more of them? Which may be true like in comparison with other situations women might be in but I'm not sure it should really be encouraged as any kind of solution. I understand economic stability helps everyone's quality of life but sweat shops don't seem like the best solution... And they talk about how China has come a long way in terms of women's rights, which may be true, but it still doesn't seem like a great situation for women, for a lot of reasons. I feel way too ignorant about all of this to really have an opinion, but this issue in the book does feel pretty debatable and problematic.
So I've been filled with worry- how do I help? What do I do? All I can see to do is donate money, realistically, and I do, and I will. If I can figure out a way to donate time domestically, I will. But I think I am too wimpy to go overseas and put myself in the middle of it, honestly. The authors' encouragement to go to these places- I just feel like wait! You just told me how horrible it is over there for women and now you want me to go there? I am not brave enough. Maybe I'm not selfless enough. I'm so glad someone is.
But I do have my own kids to take care of, and because of this book I feel even more fortunate to be able to raise my children in the situation I am able to. And I want to do more for others, and instill in my children that desire, and spread the word. It all sounds so stereotypical, how I've reacted to this book. It probably is. But of all possible causes to get involved in and to feel strongly about, this feels like it's always been in me, like I belong to it, and it feels like the most important one to get behind, b/c I do believe that if you improve the lives of women, mothers- everyone's lives will improve. So even if there are problems with this book, even if there are holes, even if I will be keeping my eyes open for controversies relating to it- I am so grateful for it and I hope I can do SOMETHING for some sister somewhere. That's where my heart is. (less)
My only regret is that I didn't put sticky notes on topics I think about or discuss often. This book was really great for me and taught me a lot of th...moreMy only regret is that I didn't put sticky notes on topics I think about or discuss often. This book was really great for me and taught me a lot of things I didn't know before. It helped me work through some issues I have. I think it's a great book for LDS people who have issues with certain things, but want to figure it all out. It's a surprisingly unbiased book. I think.(less)
Learned lots, made me realize lots. Quote from last page is a good summary: "There is nothing subtle about the products themselves. They are knowingly...moreLearned lots, made me realize lots. Quote from last page is a good summary: "There is nothing subtle about the products themselves. They are knowingly designed- engineered is a better word- to maximize their allure... Their advertising uses every psychological trick to overcome any logical arguments we might have for passing the product by... Their formulas are calculated and perfected by scientists who know very well what they are doing. The most crucial point to know is that there is nothing accidental in the grocery store. All of this is done with a purpose." (To make you buy more forever.)(less)
I liked it a lot- more because of the story / content than the form / author's ability/ style. Basically everything about this time period/ world fasc...moreI liked it a lot- more because of the story / content than the form / author's ability/ style. Basically everything about this time period/ world fascinates me. The Tudor era. I mean everything, like what they ate, wore, ceremonies, relationships, letters they wrote, birth practices, belief systems, diseases, blah blah, I'm a loser. It's fascinating. And the whole story of Henry VIII is pretty unbelievable - that's it's true. They were all totally crazy and I love reading about it.
Sometimes Weir is a bit sensational, and I can't always tell what she writes that is from fact, historical fact, and what is more conjecture on her part. When she gets into what the historical figure was probably thinking or "must have been" thinking or "may have considered," etc., it seems to me she's projecting a lot on there just for the sake of drama. And this book certainly could have been shorter, but that didn't bother me because I was interested the whole way through. I'm sure that must be at least partially due to her writing skills though. I just started "Elizabeth" by David Starkey, and I already like the voice of that book a lot more than this one. I haven't read much in the way of historical non-fiction, but from what I can tell, Weir doesn't have a new, revolutionary take on this matter. That's OK but I did expect something different from a female author and perhaps I was expecting a distinctly feminist perspective, which I didn't feel like I got. Don't know why I expected that, just b/c the author is a woman. Again, don't have much to compare it to so I could be wrong. I do think probably some of the smaller details she shares are disputable in the history world, which is interesting and I think historians like doing that, so that's pretty normal I suppose.
Anyway. First Tudor biography I've read. Not the last. Enjoyable, informative and memorable. Gave me lots of details some books might leave out. Will be interesting to compare my future reads to this one.(less)
Liked all 488 pages. Now I know just about everything I was ever curious about in reference to Elizabeth 1. But I would like to read a book focusing o...moreLiked all 488 pages. Now I know just about everything I was ever curious about in reference to Elizabeth 1. But I would like to read a book focusing on the cultural implications of Elizabeth and her decisions and behavior. Also a book about the plague b/c that s fascinates me.(less)
Hard/ impossible to obey them all, but memorable, and good guidelines to remind me of what I should do, and ways to incororate it all into my daily li...moreHard/ impossible to obey them all, but memorable, and good guidelines to remind me of what I should do, and ways to incororate it all into my daily life. Quick read.(less)
I never would have chosen this book to read on my own. So I must thank Eliza for lending it to me. (I now feel like lending/recommending a book proves...moreI never would have chosen this book to read on my own. So I must thank Eliza for lending it to me. (I now feel like lending/recommending a book proves friendship...)
I didn't know anything about Hmong culture and now I do. This book also taught me about the American medical system - it looks strange when you step back.
It would have been a good book for me to read when I was in Japan, too, because it kind of opened me up to the idea that people of other cultures can really be sooo different. It's not stupidity, it's not lack of common sense, whatever. It's the fact that there are so many different cultures in this world, and growing up in any one of them makes just about everything about you so totally different from those in other societies. And is there any way to bridge those gaps completely? I don't think so. There's probably a way to improve cross-cultural relations though. Especially in a place like the US. This book brings up those questions and doesn't pose solutions but does give ideas at least to open up your mind and eyes to it all. And it gives facts about how things have been (poorly) dealt with, and the problems that causes. The case study Fadiman explores is a perfect example that you can kind of project onto other situations.
And the story itself is really interesting. Fadiman tells the story rather skillfully - (but?) you can tell she is a journalist, for better or worse, here.
This book was really enjoyable. It impressed me and taught me a lot and made me think about the issues it brought up - namely cultural issues - a lot. I'm glad I read it and I hope I keep it in mind when I encounter those from other cultures and have difficulties with how I may feel about them. Because I can pretend I'm not "culturalist" and I'm all open and accepting but when it comes down to it, I'm not. (less)
Well, I now know more about dead bodies than I ever cared to know, but I guess that's a good thing?
Interesting, fast read. Satisfies any morbid curio...moreWell, I now know more about dead bodies than I ever cared to know, but I guess that's a good thing?
Interesting, fast read. Satisfies any morbid curiosity you may have. And quite educational. Death/dead bodies is/are taboo in many ways, so I guess it's good to just look at it realistically and factually. Roach keeps things funny too.
Beside teaching me lots of things about what happens to dead bodies that are "willed to science," it's also got me thinking about the funeral industry and how crooked it can be. It also got me interested (I guess?) in the composting of bodies to fertilize a memorial tree.
Well written, funny at times (not laugh out loud or anything), educational, gross. (less)
I read this in high school, when I was really trying to be a hippy and I was really into self-analysis and stuff. I'm not sure if I would like it now,...moreI read this in high school, when I was really trying to be a hippy and I was really into self-analysis and stuff. I'm not sure if I would like it now, but I really liked it back then, maybe 6 years ago.(less)