wow...I picked this up on a whim & faith in Margaret Atwood. For me it was a bit of a slow start but the last 1/4 of the book was delicious. This...morewow...I picked this up on a whim & faith in Margaret Atwood. For me it was a bit of a slow start but the last 1/4 of the book was delicious. This is another cautionary tale by Atwood of where humankind could be headed.(less)
The Book of Jezebel has been called a feminist text/coffee table book that will be on the coffee table of every third-wave feminist. NPR suggests you choose it over the latest Bridget Jones book! I suggest that you should instead send the $27 to your local abortion fund, Planned Parenthood or other fave feminist organization.
Basically, "We can do better feminism."
Admittedly, as a critic of Jezebel, I went in wanting to not like the book. I tried to talk myself into being fair, especially after I saw that Kate Harding was a lead writer on it. As a disclaimer, Kate & I went to high school together, have hung out a few times since reconnecting at a Shakesville meet-up and she's bought Girl Scout cookies from my daughter. I also admire her brilliance. So the book can't be that bad, right? I went right for my personal music moment in the book...To the L's!
WHAT?! No Lilith Fair? OK, they covered it under Sarah McLachlan then...WHATTHEFUCK?! After cryptically posting to my FB page about this egregious error, I was told that an online second edition would be created and this error would be corrected. And it has. While I won't spend time outlining every person or idea I feel was left out, I will say that I do not think those left out on purpose, but as editor Anna Holmes points out in an interview with the Washington Post, "just were not thought of."
Thus began my journey to read the book in order, cover to cover. Come on with me as I Frodo this book...
It starts off strong with a full-page photo of Bella Abzug. Then I read the first entry on Aaliyah. Oh, my...I was not a huge fan of Aaliyah, so for me to read it and think, "This does not do justice to her legacy," says a lot. So let's move on my precious...We get to a pretty good entry on Abigail Adams. Jezebel defines her as "the baller behind President John Adams who was the real brains behind the American Revolution (p 6)." I chuckle. Then I hit "adoption" and I throw the book like Frodo tosses the ring:
"If you're pregnant and cannot raise the child yourself, antichoicers would have you believe this is a relatively easy process and morally superior alternative to abortion, even thought it means enduring forty weeks of pregnancy, labor, and any complications that might arise from those, then handing the baby over to stranger while you're physically exhausted and maximally hormonal (p 6-7)"
Now I've written about adoption before and the idea that feminists are best suited to look after the birth mother. I think everyone should read, "The Girls Who Went Away," before saying adoption is the best choice for an unwanted/planned pregnancy. But this description is offensive and not just in the normal Jezebel offensive manner. OK, deep breath...let's keep moving.
Overall I did end up pretty "meh" about the whole book. There are some excellent entries (A League of Their Own, Buffy Summers, Venus & Serena Williams, and Princess Diana), but also some low points such as summing up Deidre McCloskey's awesomeness with this entry: "As far as we know, the first out trans woman who's also a famous economist (p 179)." For me, she's important to know because lately she's been calling into question the idea of "statistical significance" and I think as feminists, we like people who question science in a manner that ensures that good science prevails.
I asked a few #NoJez folks what they would look up in "The Book of Jezebel," and the most requested idea was cis/transgender. I will say that I think their entries on these terms are fairly good despite the McCloskey entry.
But overall, the "meh" feeling came from a sense that some entries were just super shortchanged. That some individuals received well-rounded entries and others did not. I know not every entry can be perfect, but some glaring omissions did occur.
I also feel that the time and energy given to riot grrrl over all other musical genres was short-sighted, to say the least of the amazing feminist work in hip-hop, country and rap, not to mention the aforementioned Sarah McLachlan and her contemporaries. There were also entries that were rightly critical of the person or idea (Helen Thomas, Naomi Wolf), but others did not get that same critical eye (Gloria Steinem, SlutWalk).
Overall, "The Book of Jezebel" is uneven in how it treats lady things, presents some ideas in too snarkastic of a light and overall is just ok. It's not a terrible book, but if you are looking for something to give a young woman who might need a nudge towards claiming the feminist label there are plenty of other gift ideas.
As a zombie story, it was pretty good. The book is written as a series on vignettes told by those who survived the zombie war. The geographic diversit...moreAs a zombie story, it was pretty good. The book is written as a series on vignettes told by those who survived the zombie war. The geographic diversity is excellent, thus we get a sense of how the epidemic was first denied then quickly gets out of control. I really appreciated the commentary on how different political regimes handled things differently (esp Cuba's story).
Where I found myself disappointed is that in 342 pages, Brooks manages to include few women's voices. As I explained to my 10yo daughter, most of the women had things happen to them. Only one, IMO, had much agency...maybe two if you count the woman at the end who has decided to have babies for new Russia. The fact that Brooks could not manage to make women part of the military (other than one) is disappointing considering how many dystopian novels take the opportunity to break gender stereotypes. Alas, Brooks is trapped by repeating current history's "all-dude" mentality and bringing it to the zombie war history books. There are no Sarah Conners or Katnisses in these pages. You are warned.(less)
It's been awhile since I've cried over the loss of a character. A good continuation of the first two books in this series. Also a good prompt for youn...moreIt's been awhile since I've cried over the loss of a character. A good continuation of the first two books in this series. Also a good prompt for young people to discuss selfishness, peace, borders. Now to start the last book.(less)
This book started off with a bang! I just got around to picking up because of the local connection (book is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago), the au...moreThis book started off with a bang! I just got around to picking up because of the local connection (book is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago), the author is a Veronica and there's a movie coming out soon with Kate Winslet! While the book moves at a pretty good pace, I felt the ending was more meh than the rest of the book. This is the one time I hope the screenwriters take a bit of liberty to spiff up the conclusion. The final scenes just seemed to trite and predictable. That said, I do want to read the next book!(less)
If the world we know ended tomorrow, but humans survived, how would we reorganize ourselves? This is what this series imagines. I love post-apocalypti...moreIf the world we know ended tomorrow, but humans survived, how would we reorganize ourselves? This is what this series imagines. I love post-apocalyptic novels and this did not disappoint. Ok, maybe a little in that i like my books to have more firm conclusions. It is not a sequel to "The Giver," rather another story from it's universe. Looking forward to reading the next book & seeing what type of society emerges there.(less)
I've never read a book about adoption, but I kept thinking about adoption stories. The premise of the book is that in a far-off Earth, one community d...moreI've never read a book about adoption, but I kept thinking about adoption stories. The premise of the book is that in a far-off Earth, one community does all it can to breed the best humans. Girls who have no other redeeming qualities are birthmothers. One finds herself actually loving her son -- this community has chemically/hormonally removed love from humans. After some chaos, she sets off into the world to find him. This is the slowest moving of the 4 books and I am sure I would have given up except that I HAD TO KNOW how it ended. It was a bit of a cheesy ending too. Taken as a whole, this series was great. It has left me with a lot to think about, especially in my dreamscape. (less)