Fight Like A Girl by Clementine Ford

Published: 28th September 2016 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Allen & Unwin
Pages: 294
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat.

Fight Like A Girl will make you laugh, cry and scream. But above all it will make you demand and fight for a world in which women have real equality and not merely the illusion of it.

I had been hearing so much about this book when it was published and I was eager to get my hands on it and experience it for myself. Reading it was all I hoped it would be and more, I filled its pages with Post It’s marking of important and wonderful quotes. I also got to meet Ford at the Newcastle Writers’ Festival which was amazing, as was listening to her in her sessions.

Fight Like A Girl is a book that everyone should read, every girl and every woman, but also every man. So many of my own experiences are laid out in this book. The fact that I can agree with so much of Ford’s words should be worrying, but it’s not. They’re a comfort because it reminds me that I’m not being paranoid or silly when I hold me keys in my fingers walking back to my car late at night, it reminds me I’m not overreacting when I feel uncomfortable having a stranger talk to me at the bus stop when he’s a little drunk, worried what he’ll say and what I’m safe to respond with. It makes me think of all the times I’ve placated a thought to save hurting a man’s feelings and not stood up for something out of fear of personal verbal attack. It’s reminded me that the passion and the fight I feel inside me is one that many women out there are feeling and that it’s ok to feel this way.

Ford addresses many issues and “societal norms” I suppose we could call them through her chapters and she is unapologetic in her words and opinions. Mixed in with her own experiences it’s actually a humorous and enlightening book at times that looks at how society has been constructed to see women as the lesser and the weaker, the one in need of defending and the one who is not only walked over and shut down by the patriarchy, but happy to have it happen.

It’s not all agreement and scoffs at how men are and how childish they can be when their ways of life are challenged. Parts of this book made me sick to my stomach and it makes me angry and sad, but more importantly, it flames the fire I’ve been stoking for the past few years. The feminist I’ve been since my second year of uni and the one who’s gradually doing a little more than fuming internally and sharing Tumblr posts, cheering in the tags.

This is a book for everyone. To quote Ford, it “is a love letter to the girls”. There are some tough topics being discussed in here, but they’re important, and this book is important because if someone doesn’t want to listen to (or believe) a women’s experience from her own mouth, you can always throw this book at them instead.

You can purchase Fight Like A Girl via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Amazon | Dymocks | Allen & Unwin

Angus and Robinson’s Bookworld | Fishpond

aww2017-badge

Advertisements

Don’t Hit Me! by Vanessa de Largie

Published: 19th March 2015Goodreads badge
Publisher: 
Booktrope
Pages: 88
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-fiction
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Australian actress and author Vanessa de Largie is a survivor of domestic violence. Don’t Hit Me! is the true diarised account of her time living with an abusive man. The story is conveyed through poems, journal entries and fragments of lyrical prose. The book is a snapshot of domestic violence in real time. Raw, poignant and brave – it’s a tale that will stay with you.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

For a very short book with very little writing, this book says a lot. Vanessa de Largie’s story is unfortunately one that’s not unique, but the way she has told it is.

The poems, journal entries, and collection of thoughts are raw, honest, poetic, and real. De Largie tells readers at the start this is not a story that unfolds as a normal story would, but unfolds as a story that did. Moments of her life are displayed on the page, there for everyone to see, and it highlights the life of a victim, without the long narration, reflection, and the chronology and increasing severity some other books have.

What is wonderful about this though is that this short 88 page book filled with fragments of de Largie’s life portrays a much bigger picture that any complete story would have. The life of an abuse victim is there in short verse and paragraphs of a moment, and the pain within and the struggle to live each day, hoping for a moment of freedom, even for a short while screams off the page.

Even in these short fragments you get caught up in de Largie’s world, you’re there with her, beside her, seeing her pain, it’s incredible. You sense her mood, her retreat within herself, her strength and determination to stay alive, and the darkness that offered her a way out.

Telling a story of this nature like this is unconventional but it is no less powerful. This is a snippet and snapshot of moments in de Largie’s life with an abuser and a wonderful expression of the empowerment of being free. I think bringing the issue of domestic abuse to light in such a brilliant way is commendable and one I hope highlights not just the life of the abused, but offers inspiration for those who think they don’t have the strength.

You can purchase Don’t Hit Me! via the following

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Readings