Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Book Review: Girlhood by Melissa Febos

A couple of booksellers told me Melissa Febos was their favorite author, and those are STRONG words from a bookseller! Most of us are highly annoyed when we're asked for a top ten  of authors, and we never volunteer that as it's SO HARD. So I immediately checked out her new book to see what the hype was all about.

So Ms. Febos has an interesting background as a professional Dominatrix (that's the subject of her first book) and in her third book, she's addressing that in an oblique way, as this book is a series of essays more or less in chronological order that are about being a girl and becoming a woman. She starts each section off with a subject, such as when your body was first objectified by a man. How old were you? Thirteen? Ten? Eight? And then she writes her story, and she follows that with the stories of several other women, who mostly she talked with, and a few who wrote up their essays (Ms. Febos teaches writing, and I assume that's the origin of those other essays.) 

So the book is super #metoo as it's about objectification, assault, bullying, pressure to be and act in a sexualized manner, first kiss, first boyfriend, and so on. This book is not for the faint of heart, but it very much is for those looking for stories about how we all got to where we are in this day, in terms of personal experiences of the pressures--emotional, verbal and physical--that impact the healthy sexual development of girls into women.

This book is published by Bloomsbury, which is distributed by Macmillan, my employer.

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