Thursday 18 March 2021

Audiobook Review: Difficult Women by Helen Lewis

Well-behaved women don’t make history: difficult women do.

Helen Lewis argues that feminism’s success is down to complicated, contradictory, imperfect women who fought each other as well as fighting for equal rights. Too many of these pioneers have been whitewashed or forgotten in our modern search for feel-good, inspirational heroines. It’s time to reclaim the history of feminism as a history of difficult women. 

In this audiobook, you’ll meet the working-class suffragettes who advocated bombings and arson; the princess who discovered why so many women were having bad sex; the pioneer of the refuge movement who became a men’s rights activist; the ‘striker in a sari’ who terrified Margaret Thatcher; the wronged Victorian wife who definitely wasn’t sleeping with the prime minister; and the lesbian politician who outraged the country. Taking the story up to the present with the 21st-century campaign for abortion services, Helen Lewis reveals the unvarnished - and unfinished - history of women’s rights.

Drawing on archival research and interviews, Difficult Women is a funny, fearless and sometimes shocking narrative history which shows why the feminist movement has succeeded - and what it should do next. The battle is difficult, and we must be difficult, too.

Review: I really love when an audiobook is divided into very specific chapters like this one because not every chapter is going to be relevant or new information to everyone and so it was great to be able to chop and change and skip bits I wasn't as interested in over the course of this audiobook. 

This book is divided into 11 sections plus and intro and an epilogue so it means that if you're feeling like listening to the section on sex one day but voting the next you can navigate your way through the book as such. Also these 11 fights are not solely based around issues facing women in the UK but around the world and in Ireland as well. I like how Helen Lewis narrates this one and gives her own personal anecdotes alongside the facts and figures that she has curated. There are also personal accounts from other women she had interviewed or profiled and they factor into each section with relatable human experiences. 

This book is not a preachy book. Helen discusses how she felt when she had to go through a divorce and din't just land on the side of, well she should never have got married in the first place. She talks about being out spoken when she feels that the feminist agenda is being over shadowed by something simply becoming a media circus or a cause for the news to pick up on. 

I'm not saying that I loved every section of this book or that everything was brand new information that hasn't been covered in other books but if you are just beginning to pick up books like this or just branching into nonfiction then this would be a good starting point. The book also details other writers who have written books on the subject in pother different ways and so would be a great stepping stone into picking up more books about feminism and women's studies in general. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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