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The Whole Intimate Mess: Motherhood, Politics, and Women's Writing

4.67  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Published June 2017 by BWB Texts
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Average rating 4.67  · 
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I can't stop thinking about this book and how the author (who is also a friend, full disclosure, as New Zealand is too small!) totally 'gets' my feelings about juggling life, motherhood, career, health issues, and feelings. So many FEELINGS that I also have daily.

Breath, be strong, hear me roar.

Anna Richardson
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An honest, witty and painful account of her real life battle with politics, motherhood and a husband who has a degenerative disease. There were so many aha or connective moments in this book, even though her circumstances were extraordinary, any woman could connect emotionally and deeply with the struggles she dealt with. A refreshingly, honest page turner.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Devastating honesty that will hit home with anyone who has tried to juggle motherhood, a job, and life in general, let alone a political career. Personally I have never believed that you could have it all as a working mother. Holly believed she could, and gave it her absolute utmost in personal circumstances and a work environment that pushed her to her limits.

I loved your book Holly.

"We must always be gentle with ourselves." - A mantra for mothers everywhere.
Barnaby Haszard Morris
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A strong argument (both in subject matter and in its own high quality) for the amplification of women's voices in all spheres of public life. Wouldn't the world be a better place if there were more women in Parliament? more books by women being read? more films by women being watched? more businesses led by women? etc? Walker's narrative is far more nuanced and compelling than this list, but that's where it led me.

Also alarmingly honest. The final lines are unforgettable.
This is a wonderfully written book, that tells an extremely important story.

Walker's deeply personal account of her experience in parliament and as a new mother manages to somehow feel universal to all women. She deftly articulates the norms institutions that need to be challenged if we want to live in an equal society.

I reckon everyone needs to read this.

Daniel Haines
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would recommend this book to anyone. Although focused on how difficult it can be with political aspirations, I believe there is a universality to this story lots of people would connect to. I found Walker candid with a concise ability to describe complex emotions.
Simon Sweetman
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Almost alarmingly honest this is a compelling 'memoir of failure/s' - that's not so much about failing but flailing, about trying to make sense of things and recognising limits/limitations, understanding what needs to happen. In parts it is very powerful.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The most important thing I have read in a long time. Holly's words are bitterly painful yet true, these are words everyone needs to hear.
Hamish McKenzie
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honest, unflinching, and necessary. A human book about being a human, and a high-achieving one at that. We need more books like this.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
'I leaned in so far I fell over and cracked into little pieces'

In this small but important book Walker recounts her experience as a New Zealand parliamentarian, her eventual resignation when the pressures of a political career and family life became too much and her subsequent exploration of women writers as a kind of recovery.

I related to so much of Walker's story. It's very clear that the system is broken, if only there was an easy fix.
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A frank, genuine and brave account of the incompatibility of ambition and family duty in modern politics. Walker insists she doesn’t work solely for personal ambition, but there must of course be an element of it in the efforts she expends, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Regardless, what you’ll read about here is the way our merciless modern work culture remains incompatible with the values of compassion humble service. It’s a fairly bleak read. But life itself is like that.
Jacqui Allen
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was great writing and a really honest voice about the realities of motherhood and things in life perhaps not going originally to plan. Loved the quotes about motherhood from other women writers too. Lots of interesting women's literature to follow up on :)
Aimee Lowe
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The level of honesty is remarkable. I have friends who I now plan to purchase this for as it touches on issues & feelings I believe they’ll relate to. ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Heartbreaking and very honest.
Amber Hall
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holly Walker’s heartbreaking and frank discussion of her struggle to balance mental health, political career, parenting and family care responsibilities during her time in government. Such a timely and important message - there were way too many moments of “oh, that sounds like me” and I will be recommending it to several of my over achieving (and hyper self critical) friends.
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