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What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  685 ratings  ·  137 reviews
A darkly funny and very personal attempt to answer the question by America's longest running advice columnist

When E. Jean Carroll—possibly the liveliest woman in the world and author of Ask E. Jean in Elle Magazine — realized that her eight million readers and question-writers all seemed to have one thing in common—problems caused by men—she hit the road. Criss-crossing
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 2nd 2019 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  685 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Jul 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
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Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I've never read anything written by E. Jean Carroll before. I didn't even know she was a long-time advice columnist for Elle, or that she had written an article long ago for Outside magazine about one of my favorites, Fran Lebowitz (excerpting one of my favorite Lebowitz quotes for WDWNMF: "To me the outdoors is what you must pass through to get from your apartment into a taxi"). However, after reading the recent article about her in New York Magazine, largely centered around her rape by Donald ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
In which E. Jean Carroll tells the story of how Toadstool Tallywhacker Trump raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman back in the 1990s.
Most of this book was just so-so. I had expected it to be a lot more entertaining, but sometimes it seemed like she was trying too hard to be humorous.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am not sure what I just read, but I know that I hated it. I expected something ironic and funny, but all I got was awkward rambling with unique storytelling (also not a positive trait).
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book quite a bit to begin with, but it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. This review is going to pertain towards the writing rather than the content (Carroll has dealt with a lot of bs and it isn't my intention to review that piece).

I liked the humour at first, but it felt a bit... tiring as it went on. Carroll often went on tangents, which made it a bit difficult to get through. She would start a story, go on about something else and then would finish the story pages and pages
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A celebration of womanhood in all its glory. Also, very funny. E. Jean is a national treasure. Pre-publication coverage has been all about the Trump incident, but that's about 1 percent of the book, and it comes at the end. Read it for the humor, the insight, and for Lewis Carroll and Miss Bingley.
Yana   (Reading Thrillers)
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Update: OK, I finished the book. My first impression has not changed. A book about nothing....

OK, This is my first impression. It's cute. Way too much of man-bashing even for my taste and I am a single (by choice, after three marriages) very independent, self-sufficient woman, but, what do I know, I am just at the beginning of the book. Also, I would not recommend an audiobook. E. Jean Carroll narrates it herself and I don't like it. She is hard to listen too. I think it was a mistake to self
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just began the journey and loving it.
This profile of the author set me off to buy the book.
Melanie Page
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sjcpl
Like many Goodread reviewers confess, I had never heard of E. Jean Carroll before picking up What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, but turns out she’s famous. She’s been a “somebody” in one fashion or another since college. Most famously, she is the advice columnist at Elle magazine and has been since 1993. In her feminist take on Jonathan Swift’s satire A Modest Proposal, Carroll produces the most straight-shooting yet lost-in-the-woods book I’ve ever read.

With a Prius full of organic
Lorri Steinbacher
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
If you like E. Jean Carroll's column and her style you will likely enjoy this book. She manages to convey the reality of the sexual harrassment, diminishment, and abuse that many (most?) women experience in their lifetime while at the same time showing how strong and vital women are. Carroll's style is breezy, sarcastic, a little off-center (which sometimes veers off into making no sense) but there is one line in there that broke my heart and added gravity to an otherwise "light" take ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I picked up this book after listening to a podcast featuring the author (With Friends Like These). I’ve never, to the best of my knowledge, read the authors column in ELLE, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I equally laughed, clutched my pearls and wanted to rage while reading this book. The concept is interesting but some of the details were incredibly difficult to read. TBH I’m not sure how to rate this book, it jumps around quite a bit and breaks my heart as often as I chuckle.
Campbell Disbrow
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Former Miss Indiana University, Miss Cheerleader USA, Elle columnist, TV host and SNL writer, current national treasure E. Jean Carroll races around the country in a pimped-out prius named Miss Bingley with her standard poodle asking women why we need men, what else do you need to know.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author's whimsical effervescence prevails even while she covers a lifetime of misuse at the hands of men. Her stories are remarkable in that they are NOT unique. We should all be as courageous and irrepressible.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love her wit. A very good read and sad, but in a comical way, or tragic. Depends on how sensible you are to women's issues. I think I am all for her plan. Let women lead, men go to camp.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A humorous look at some very upsetting experiences. (I think some reviewers are missing that this is in large part a humor-oriented book.) And I do always enjoy a fun road trip book! This book wasn't really for me; but as always, it's good to see things from some different perspectives.

And, as an old person who is tired of decades spent listening to rationalizations and putting up with shit: I am going to start screaming the next time I hear/see some self-righteous man saying an equivalent of
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay, bear with me, I'm new to writing reviews. I read a couple books a week but rarely take the time to write a review. THIS BOOK IS INCREDIBLE! I laughed so hard at times and cried at others and all the while felt my own demons losing power. WOW! I've sent copies to the women in my life most in need of personal strength (E. Jean has that in spades). Read this book, you will love it and you will feel better and then let's all take a road trip together. GIRL POWER!!!
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, memoir
residue from the back cover of this book has embedded itself lightly in my fingerprints due to the resulting hand sweat of reading this so prolongedly in the sun. it’s as good a metaphor as any i could have thought up for what it’s like finishing this book. and i mean that in a good sort of way. or in a “gut and soul -wrenching, speaks to my heart” sort of way. i can’t quite decide how to name it. but i do know i will be talking about e. jean carroll for a long long time.
Kirsten Hessler
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
"The ten-thousand–year-old damsel-in-distress story is dead. Bad things still happen to women, yes; but women are no longer damsels. Women are sweaty. Women are scalding. Women are strong. Women are tender. Women are fierce. Women are fighters!"

E. Jean is a force of nature, a woman who has endured countless harassments and assaults over the decades but maintained her laughter, conversationalism, and habit of calling other women (strangers) things like "Magnificent! Spectacular! Super duper!"
I realize i'm not quite the target audience for this book.

This is a light reading, somewhat frivolous read. There's no definitive conclusion to the question posed in the title. It's a little bit funny at times but i guess i might have missed quite a bit as i don't get a lot of the references.

Still, it was kinda entertaining and a quick enough read for me to see it all through. Despite me being white male from Europe, hardly the audience the author would have had in mind. :-)
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
E. Jean is hilarious and I love her because she loves all women unconditionally. The horrific and criminal act perpetrated on her by the current occupant of the White House is a minor episode in this book so don't let that dissuade you from reading it. Her modest proposal is sublime. Terrific summer read, funny and you'll love Lewis Carroll!
Cary Zahaby
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a funny, rolicking, sharp account of a road trip across America interwoven with memories of the author's very many sexual assaults throughout her life. Despite the tough content, it is funny, inspirational, spirited, and hopeful. I fell in love with her.
Janet Savill
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The #metoo shitstorm has influenced my reading in several stages: pain (all the reporting/revelations/allegations since 2016) moved into anger (Good & Mad by Rebecca Traister), which opened up to calls for action (Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez) and I finally landed at satire with this book. What a relief, we can laugh again.

And I did laugh because this septuagenarian took to the road with her dog, Lewis Carroll, to ask women a simple question inspired by Jonathan Swift. This is a
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, memoir-2019
E. Jean Carroll is like your eccentric aunt, or your mom's single friend. When I started the audio, it was A LOT. "Ladies!! What do we need men for?" And then lists, so many lists!

But ultimately there is a method to her madness. As she goes on a road trip state to state staying in Hardwick Inns in towns named after women, she has a simple question: What do we need men for? Some women say, "to take out the trash" and some say, "we don't". And interspersed with that is a list of Most Hideous Men,
Emily Goenner
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
How do I not know E. Jean Carroll? This was my introduction to her and I found her funny and caustic, universal and personal. I enjoyed the road trip and Lewis Carroll and laughed out loud at a few points. Well worth the listen!
Jan 25, 2020 added it
Shelves: dnf
I hate to DNF a book, but there's no way I'm suffering through any more of this person's rambling. I'd rather read The Scarlet Letter , so that's saying something.
Eric Dowdle
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Hilarious, seething, and horrifying. A breezy, worthwhile read for an afternoon.
Janet Hutchinson
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had read it all in one sitting. As it was, I had to get into her style of writing before I could enjoy it. But she is funny. And a character as well.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I read Carroll’s advice columns in Elle magazine for years, and thought it was worth reading. This book was quite witty and even a bit zany, but the author made her point really well about the injustices toward woman. Unfortunately, some of the chapters were too glossed over and humorous for my preference.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
*A world run by women will be as bad as a world run by men. Just a different bad.
*I also would have screamed at her to get the fuck outta the road.
*I live in a very white collage town and come across Ladies like her everyday, I call them "Ann Arbor Stupid", because they are not uneducated, just everyday dumb. But they think they are special and dazzling.
*She hand painted her car and thought it was cute and special. It's not.
* She is just as bad as any man on her list, she said so herself.
Shauna Hargrove
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
well, i devoured this in less than 3 hours and i loved every page. now i can only hope that nancy logan, the former miss chicago, does something so egregious and unforgivable that e. jean is forced to enter the market for a new best friend and that i somehow get the job. national fucking treasure.
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