Lamski Kikita's Reviews > Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
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's review
May 31, 2009

really liked it
Recommended for: all the ladies, and some guys who can handle it

Let me just start with saying that there are two kinds of people who would NOT like this book: 1- chauvanistic men/pigs(hehe), and 2- women who are uptight with their religious and social beliefs (and the stepford housewives type).

This book is for all women, who struggled through life because of the pressures and pre-tailored expectations of their families, socieities, religious leaders, husbands, children, etc, and finally saw the light of the moon and could not fight the urge to howl (owwwwwwwwwwwwww).

This book contains fairy tales and folklore stories which we were told as children, but never thought about as a tool for empowering women or entering their psyche. I did not give it five stars because the parts after each story in which the author explains the folkloric symbols, the achtypes, and the psychological implications, sometimes were too unneccessarily elaborate. In general, nevertheless, it is a very empoweing book.

The basic concept is that everything that goes wrong in women's lives in the modern world is that they have forgotten their wild nature, that place inside their mind which still leads with an animal instict that makes women strong and with much power. The Wild Woman is between bars inside each one of us, howling and scratching her way out, demanding that she has time to create art, to heal, to protect her territory, to guide, to give life, to mourne, to make love, to laugh scandelously with no shame, to live with no boundries, to teach, to carry wisdom, and to trust her intuition and instincts.

As a child, hearing the traditional fairy tales and reading Russian children's books, I remember never caring for the handome king, or the beautiful maiden, or the innocent mother; i was always obsessed with the evil charachters: the wolf, the vampire, the witch (especialy Baba Yaga), and the devil. I remember thinking of how strong they are, how wise, and how cunningly smart, and wanting to be like them, and not like the weak princess who's waiting in her stupid castle for some idiotic rich man with an ugly haircut to come and do all the work. After reading this book i realized that even as a child, my wild nature was healthy and active, and I did base so many decisions in my life as a kid and now as an adult on it...i sniff and see if something smells fishy, and i listen for the crack of broken twigs. I have to say though, that i still sometimes forget my canines and my claws, and start to drift into the appropriateness of the mainstream, but now I know how to always pounce right back into my furry, four-legged state with all its glory and pride. And i am thankful that I have a man who would not be surprised if i peed around a tree to mark it mine!! (just a figure of speech, don't ge any ideas, mia :-P)

Ladies, go find your inner animal and live free... following but the laws of the wild...
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Reading Progress

May 31, 2009 – Shelved
June 1, 2009 –
page 29
4.77% "the Wild Woman inside of me is awake...hungry and ready to pounce!"
June 6, 2009 –
page 219
36.02% "who knew fairy tales got to us after so much distortion!!!!"
June 9, 2009 –
page 300
49.34% "now i know why-as a child- i was fascinated to a obsessive degree with Baba Yaga...the inner witch lives on!"
June 11, 2009 –
page 409
67.27% "so empowering. it's almost done but i don't want it to [-("
Started Reading
June 13, 2009 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Alina Tarmu I used to be obsessed with the evil queen in Snow White... I always thought that she was indeed the fairest of them all, only to be dethroned by an ignorant ninny with too much baby fat, just because she was younger. It's a sad paradigm of the junocracy that dictates today...

Lamski Kikita EXACTLY! fairy tales teach kids that girls are stupid and can do nothing for themselves, and that strong women are evil and ugly. how do you expect girls that grow up hearing that to develop any self esteem?

message 3: by Scott (new)

Scott Lachenmaier My friend is reading this book. I thought I'd like to read it, too, and wanted to read some reviews. Your post reminded me of an essay I read in a Children's Literature course by Bruno Bettelheim called 'The Uses of Enchantment.' He was a child psychologist and wrote about how fairy tales are beneficial to psychological development. I can't remember the specifics of his arguments, but I believe that you and Sorana have perfectly legitimate interpretations. I think you would both like his perspecives.

message 4: by Alina (last edited Jun 25, 2013 08:23PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Alina Tarmu I love fairy tales as much as ever, and I wish everybody could read beyond patriarchal distortions. I believe tales are beneficial at every age, they inspire and offer surprising analogies and solutions to our life problems. From what I could see, Bettelheim's book uses Freudian analysis; I personally prefer Jung. :)

message 5: by Scott (new)

Scott Lachenmaier When I went back to review Bettelheim's book, I was surprised to see that he uses Freudian analysis. The chapter of his that I read in the Children's Literature text book seemed to make perfect sense. And very little of what Freud theorized made sense to me. If I new then that he was inclined to use Freudian analysis, I may have read him differently, which would have been a shame. I could tell by the 20 or so pages of the chapter excerpt, that Bettelheim was a brilliant man. But like you, I am much more inclined to Jung.

Scott I can handle it. Found it edifying in the 90's.

message 7: by The (new) - rated it 4 stars

The Reader I was mesmerized by the universal nature of fairy tales. Did they arise from different cultures or were they imported and then modified. I was drawn to ancient sense of community. What reinforces community to be inclusive and empowering--lone wolves who find their strengths and leadership through animals

message 8: by Bea (new) - rated it 1 star

Bea Zee I didn't like it and I don't fit into the categories you mentioned. I believe in wildness, I revere Artemis, I agree that society crushes our spirits. And still, I dislike the book. Because it does a disservice for that own purpose. Instead of reading it and going "wow, this makes sense!", it's like "wow, what a bunch of shallow self help statements" who will never convince anyone with a brain to act that way.

message 9: by Bea (new) - rated it 1 star

Bea Zee *which, sorry

message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael a new girlfriend requested i read this book as a way to understand her. after reading this review, i will start the book, and behave myself. aloha.

message 11: by Old lazy (new) - added it

Old lazy queen Ha ha ha ha

Marta I agree, but for the the book was too long. I mean it could have been more compressed - I couldn't stand the author rambling on about what she is going to write about in the next chapter. What's the point of having several pages of such talk? So, all in all, I found the topic fascinating, but not the form... Like using Spanish words for everything. I'm fluent in Spanish but I can imagine it can be pretty annoying for a person who's not. It doesn't add anything to the book, rather making you "stumble" over lots of unnecessary foreign words while reading.

message 13: by Alexandra (new) - added it

Alexandra Estes writes for men as well.

message 14: by Alexandra (new) - added it

Alexandra well , I am Greek so I did not stumble over Greek words, so that really depends on which language is 'foreign' to someone. I did not mind the Spanish words, and I don't speak Spanish.

Tiffany Flowers I definitely don't fit into your categories and I'm not enjoying this book. It feels vague and pretentious, and while I view myself a very strong and independent woman, I don't connect with this idea of women being caged by society and needing to break free.

message 16: by Laura (new)

Laura LVD Same as Tiffany here- i do not fit in category 1 nor 2 but still found the book dense and boring when i was in university, and abandoned it to never start reading it again, although have some friends who are definitely category 2 and loved it.

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