“The Burning” by Laura Bates

Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

When I heard that Laura Bates of Everyday Sexism was writing a novel, I was really excited to read it. Her work is often discussed in the school in which I teach and the website and Twitter feed are used by pupils when looking at issues around sexism, social media, gender bias and peer pressure. I was keen to see whether a fictional approach would be able to tie in with the topics we’ve explored already.

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“Notes to Self” by Emilie Pine

Thanks to Penguin Books UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I actually finished this book a few weeks ago but felt I needed some time to ruminate about it before writing my review. This book deals with some really tough subjects and issues that have also affected me. It’s raw, unflinchingly honest and personal and I think many other women will feel the same affinity with the author whilst reading it. Continue reading ““Notes to Self” by Emilie Pine”

“Monsters” by Sharon Dogar

 

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Thanks to Penguin Random House UK and NetGalley for providing me with an Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. 

This novel follows the early life of Mary Godwin (Mary Shelley to be) and Percy Bysshe Shelley as well as some of their more well-known family members and friends such as Claire Clairmont and Lord Byron. This book is based on the lives of real historical figures who have been dead for nearly 200 years and many of the events of their fascinating lives are relatively well known, particularly as there has recently been a Mary Shelley movie starring Elle Fanning. With that in mind there may be some light spoilers in this review.  

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“Unquiet Women” by Max Adams

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Thanks to Head of Zeus and Netgalley for the advanced reading copy.

I was SO excited to read this book when I initially read the blurb for it, but unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The concept itself is compelling: forgotten voices from women throughout History, but it doesn’t quite meet its aim. I had hoped for something similar to the women’s stories featured on the badassoftheweek.com series.

The author is clearly very knowledgeable and I enjoyed the parts where he talked about his professional experiences and was able to flesh out some of the details. The book itself would work really well as a book to dip in and out of, perhaps reading a few of the accounts at a time. They are short enough for this to be possible. It doesn’t flow very well for longer periods of reading in my opinion as the women tended to blur together in my mind.

As an ex Social Studies teacher, I understand completely how difficult it can be to uncover meaningful evidence of women’s lives during certain periods of History. This book tries to bring life to some of these women, but the information given is often just too vague or tenuous to really get your teeth into. Just as things start to get interesting, it’s time to move onto the next woman. It might have made more sense to provide longer accounts of the more well-known women or those who have more information and evidence available than lots of short little ditties about random Anglo-Saxon noblewomen and weaving (so much weaving….).

Parts of the book reminded me of those moments in a job interview when the interviewer asks you a question and you just try to ramble a bit and hope it sticks. The featured women are largely from Western and Northern Europe which is unfortunate as the few pieces there are about the non-Western women are some of the more interesting in the book.

Overall, I did enjoy parts of this book but it didn’t grab my interest the way I had hoped it would.