CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian's Reviews > A Sentimental Education

A Sentimental Education by Hannah McGregor
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it was amazing
bookshelves: asexual-aromantic, canadian, essays, femme, nonfiction, queer, own

I loved this book souch I wrote a whole damn review on my blog: https://caseythecanadianlesbrarian.wo...

Here's a bit of my lengthy review:

This book ... may have gotten me excited about academic writing for the first time in what feels like a millennium, more accurately about two decades. As McGregor writes, A Sentimental Education is her trying out a new type of academic writing that is more in line with her podcasting voice...

Like with any ideas-focused writing, I know it's a hit with me when it gets my brain buzzing and has me itching to record my thoughts and responses. Also, though, this book made me cry and have, well, feelings. I laughed out loud multiple times! The illusion that these two responses -- intellectual vs emotional -- are contradictory or ill-paired is explored in the book at length... 

A Sentimental Education is a collection of essays that run the gamut from analyzing the politics of whiteness in many beloved classics for (white) girls such as Anne of Green Gables and Little Women to discussing the mechanics of the podcasting form and how it engenders intimacy, authenticity, and familiarity. The book is a master class in the seamless integration of diverse tones, going from formal citations of Sara Ahmed to sentences like "Frankly, podcasting made me into a real hard-line bitch about open access" as if these different kinds of sentences were meant to coexist in the same essay...

McGregor's careful attention to affect when discussing literature, her moving inclusions of details from her personal life – especially about her mother's death – and more are so refreshing. They're not an addition to the intellectualism of the book; it's an incorporation and a whole way of approaching the intellectual. I love it. It's why the book spoke so deeply to me. 
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Reading Progress

January 27, 2022 – Shelved as: to-read
January 27, 2022 – Shelved
January 27, 2022 – Shelved as: canadian
January 27, 2022 – Shelved as: asexual-aromantic
January 27, 2022 – Shelved as: queer
January 27, 2022 – Shelved as: nonfiction
January 27, 2022 – Shelved as: femme
January 27, 2022 – Shelved as: essays
August 9, 2022 – Started Reading
August 9, 2022 – Shelved as: own
September 1, 2022 –
page 28
19.72% ""What excites me about reading is the process of interpreting and discussing, if visiting and revisiting a significant story and bringing our whole selves to bear, personally and collectively, on the problem of meaning...I'm not trying to decide if sentimental stories are good or bad. I want to dwell, instead, in the gloriously messy process of collective meaning-making." 😍"
September 1, 2022 –
page 42
29.58% ""I'm tired of pretending that her [mother's] love and loss aren't as central to the scholar, feminist, and human I've become as any of the other lines on my CV. There is a hole blasted straight through me, like the sculpture she once envisioned; what a relief it is to finally tell you about it." 😭"
September 1, 2022 –
page 50
35.21% ""As with sentimentality, hasty rejections of relatability always feel a touch misogynistic to me, even while I recognize the way that relatability as a broad demand of art is reductive at best, and, at worst, a deadening of our collective capacity for empathy.""
September 1, 2022 –
page 55
38.73% ""Relatability has become not just a frequently identified quality of, but almost a requirement for, white women's art--and, by extension, the art of women of colour who seek to break into cultural industries by reproducing the normative, generic expectations of white culture."

I really appreciate how closely these essays pay attention to whiteness. So many other texts by white feminists assume universality."
September 1, 2022 –
page 83
58.45% ""How do we care ferociously for one another without demanding that we become collectively legible to one another?"

"We do it slowly, and we do it together.""
September 6, 2022 –
page 113
79.58% ""I remember intensely the desire to *be* desired, and the awareness that my invisibility to men in particular was a problem -- despite the fact that I was deeply uninterested in actually spending time with them."

September 21, 2022 – Finished Reading

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