I read this book between April 17th and April 18th, 2020 and gave it three stars. Here’s the deal: I really wanted to like this book, and even though I don’t dislike it, I cannot in good conscience recommend it, at least not as an empowering read or an initial approximation to feminism as I thought it would be. Maybe that was my mistake, you know? I thought this would be a cool introduction to feminism for tweens and teens, but it’s not that.
First off, this book was not empowering but it was rather informative. Like I said, the author is a Ph.D. in neuroscience and you can tell. This is very fact-based, and she uses, for the most part, a very straightforward, no-nonsense, no-bullshit language when she explains certain concepts. The book is divided into six chapters, one about the female body, another one about ways to properly care for our body, one about love, and another one about coping with stress. Yes, I forgot the other two, but you get the point.
We all know that I have issues with books that are targeted specifically “for girls” because I think they are implicitly heteronormative and sadly, this was. I don’t think it was the author’s intention, but in describing the female anatomy, for example, it was clear that the book was intended for cisgender women. Yes, she discusses trans people, but she dedicates a paragraph to them and continues focusing on cis folk. I get it, though; it was probably neither her objective nor her place to be discussing transwomen since she is not trans herself, but that’s something to keep in mind.
I know I’m all over the place with this review, but I’m just typing as things come to mind. Reading this entire book gave me the feeling that this could have been titled “Growing Up” and changed so that it could be gender-neutral, or in other words, targeted to people from all genders because the information, which, like I’ve said was very straight-forward and facts-based is applicable to every young person, not only young women. Also here I want to add that the graphics, illustrations, and snippets of information were great and that I appreciated the resources provided throughout the book, although I think they were mostly U.S-based.
Like I said at the beginning, I would not recommend this as a feminist read, but I think it is a valuable source of information, not for tweens particularly but for teachers, parents, caregivers or other adults that have young people in their lives. I think that this book would be way more helpful if an adult read it first and used its contents as a basis for conversation and reflection. I say this also considering that, since the book relies so heavily on science, it disregards the commentary that the social and cultural sciences must provide, especially in the “biology vs. culture” debate that is everpresent when talking about gender and sex.
I would like to give you an update on Matilda since I hadn’t read it in my last post. It took me two days and a few hours to read it because I had work stuff, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot, I think, is way simpler than what the movie makes it out to be, but the language and the jokes in the book are way more “grown-up” than what I was expecting, especially since Matilda is only five and a half years old. I gave it four stars and I have all the questions for my book study written down by hand, so next week I’ll be working on the product to put in my TpT store. If you have a kid in your life who wants to read this book, I’d say fourth to sixth graders would enjoy and understand it the most.
I hope you have a great afternoon and that you’re having fun participating in this challenge or at least following me on this journey.
Love, Miss Camila