Anita Smith's Reviews > Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women

Bitch by Elizabeth Wurtzel
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's review
Jul 13, 2008

did not like it
Read in September, 2008

I finished reading Bitch last night, and it was a total letdown. Which is such a shame because it had such great potential and started out so strong. I thought it was going to be a book about how women throughout history have been mislabeled as "bitches"- women like Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette, Martha Stewart, the like- and how they were quickly branded as "bitches" when they were just trying to live their lives and do their thing- like men do, only women are identified as being "assertive" and "bitchy" when they do it. I thought it would be liberating and empowering and make me want to burn my bra and swear off men forever.

Instead, it was just this big, rambling mess that hardly talked about women at all! It was more like a 400-page rant of everything that the author hated about society. It was like reading Courtney Love's journal. She gave away plots and endings to so many books and movies, which pissed me off, and there were typos, which really pissed me off! And she spent a significant amount of time on the Amy Fisher and Nicole Simpson cases, which was odd. The author made, like, ten great points throughout the book, but the rest of it was just so chaotic and confusing, that by the end I was just skimming it so I could finish it (plus I was sick of all the book and movie spoilers, so when I saw the name of a book or movie up ahead, I knew to go ahead and jump to the next page.

I finished it last night and went on goodreads to see what other people thought of this book, and it got extremely mixed reviews. But something I read in a lot of the reviews is that the author confesses in a later rant manifesto that she wrote a lot of Bitch when she was strung out on drugs, namely coke, and the sad thing is, then it made more sense. The book definitely is a ranting and confusing muse and once I heard she was coked out for most of it, I was like, ohhhhh, okay, I get it now. But it still was not a very good book.

I gave it one star for the few good points she managed to make amidst the chaos.
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05/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Elizabeth I love your review!

I actually thought Wurtzel stated at the time this was published that she had been using heroin, cocaine and Adderall? At least that was revealed in The Nation review in '97 or '98.

At any rate, rantings are just that: rants. It isn't fair for the author or her publishers to label this "feminist" We can't afford to be associated with someone who essentially represents all the tired cliches of what is wrong with feminism.

message 2: by Bex (new) - rated it 1 star

Bex Smith its nice to know that others feel the same, i also felt like it made a lot of sense when i realised she was on drugs. a ranting mess. an insight in her to mind but i couldn't even finish it, its the first book i ever refused to finish, and there has only been on since then.

Jennifer Trudeau Ritalin was EW's drug of choice when she started BITCH;
cocaine was a sloppy substitute once she'd lost her suppliers.

It's no secret Wurtzel struggled to finish this book to fulfill a contract; the story is told in detail in her addiction memoir MORE, NOW, AGAIN.

BITCH is most interesting to me because of the story of how it was written. As a look at a feminist view of any sort, it's kind of a wreck. Don't expect to find clarity of thought here; there really isn't any.

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