big girls don’t cry

by marjorieingall on October 18, 2010

My first attempt at cross-posting a Goodreads review….

Big Girls Don't CryBig Girls Don’t Cry by Rebecca Traister
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t help comparing this to Gail Collins’s When Everything Changed. Traister’s book is much tighter (it has a narrower focus — the 2008 presidential election and what it says about American attitudes toward gender and race), much less sprawling (Collins’s book is this ungainly sweeping spew through American history since 1950) and much, much more pointed. I loved it and found myself doing the crazed nodding thing — YES YES YES! OMG SO INSIGHTFUL! — right to the edge of whiplash territory. Traister does the first-person reported thing absolutely perfectly — the book is SO engagingly written, and her own feelings are perfectly integrated into the book without taking it into narcissistland. As someone with similarly tangled and evolving feelings about Hillary Clinton, I could completely relate. And Traister’s a terrific stylist — the book is dense but really readable, often funny, and the girl can sling a phrase. She’s my new role model for first-person reporting. She’s also very aware of her own privilege and the different schisms among women in a way I’m not sure Collins is. (Don’t get me wrong, Collins is my favorite NYT columnist, and her book Scorpion Tongues is one of my fave cultural history books EVAH, and oh crap, am I doing that THING of playing women against women?? That would suck.) Anyway, I can’t imagine I’ll read a better piece of social and political history this year. Brava, Rebecca Traister.

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