Hi Virtually Readers! I know that tomorrow is Christmas, but I felt like posting anyway. Now, this isn’t *really* holiday themed, but I figure that the story of Christmas is about equality—God coming to be at the same level of humans. But even if you don’t celebrate, you probably want to read the Spinster trilogy by Holly Bourne. It’s a really intense, wonderful series of books about a group of feminists and their struggles and triumphs in love and life. While definitely not for younger readers, this series (though I have to admit that I haven’t read …And a Happy New Year? Yet—hopefully soon) is empowering and delightful for anybody who believes in feminism. Why should you read it? Here are some reasons.
-Holly Bourne gets it
I know, a lot of authors *get* it. But while I am very different to the girls in these books, I just felt totally understood by Bourne’s portrayal of how it is to be a teenage girl—the mix of emotions, the friendships, the balance of school and fun. One part which felt particularly relevant was where Lottie is harassed by guys on the street. I live in a pretty sexist country, and I totally empathized with the mix of feelings that Lottie had, based on my own experience.
“Do you ever worry you’re being a teenager wrong?” -Am I Normal Yet?
“I didn’t trust me to work it out. I just messed everything up, like I had now.”- How Hard Can Love Be?
Laughing is important. There are lots of hilarious moments in these stories, which will definitely entertain you.
“Do you think it’s all part of inequality’s plan? To mess us about lovewise so we’re too busy waiting for text messages to burn our bras and run for Prime Minister?”- Am I Normal Yet?
“Children were so ungrateful in real life. In stories, if you do a good deed for a kid, they’re all beamy, covered in chimney smoke, and say stuff like “Why, thank you Mister Scrooge, God bless ya”. But in real life they just whinged and nothing you did was ever enough.”
If you ever get sick of American books, this is for you. The characters use lots of British slang and Amber actually visits America in How Hard Can Love Be, and basically makes fun of every contemporary YA stereotype ever, and critques the university system and Barack Obama. Also A-Levels and ‘college’ and all that.
-There is so much friendship
Friendship is pretty dang important, and these books are all about friendship. The three girls form a Spinster Club to support each other and talk about feminist issues, and I just love how their relationship was portrayed.
-Feminism is discussed in a realistic, honest way
There are so few explicitly feminist novels, and I really loved that all three of these books, especially What’s a Girl Gotta Do?, talked about women’s rights and inequality and making a change, and how to make a change. But at the same time, the story showed the double standards are inevitable, and judgment will happen, and no one is perfect, and it felt very realistic. I just loved this, because I talk about feminism all the time. Take an example from a few days ago. I was at a party, and talking about the Thinking Out Loud music video. I said something along the lines of “It really annoys me how to be considered attractive the woman has to wear a really revealing dress and jump around dancing while the man just stands there wearing a nice suit.” The guy next to me was like “Gosh Shanti, I think you’re overanalyzing it”—but I wasn’t, because sexism is just that insidious, and Holly Bourne shows how all these tiny things add up and up and up (like a pyramid).
“Fighting any harm is worthy. […] I realized that it takes a great deal more courage to fight for yourself than to fight for others. To confront your own pain, rather than everyone else’s.” -What’s a Girl Gotta Do?
“ ‘Feminism? There’s a test for that?” Would I pass? I quickly scanned my thoughts and feelings to check them for feminismness. The pay gaph makes me cross, and yet I wear make-up.”- Am I Normal Yet?
-The writing is really dialogue based
The writing is really engaging, snappy, and fits in with the characters. The dialogue feels really true to life and that makes these books enjoyable to read.
“ ‘You need to learn that every time you get to speak, doesn’t mean you get to monologue.’
‘But I’m so very good at it,’ I wailed.” -What’s a Girl Gotta Do?
-Nuances and complexities.
With all the issues that The Spinster Club deals with—feminism, mental helath issues, friendship, family, growing up, the media—there are shades and levels of complexity which make them so much richer, and just like real life. Nothing is simple, and these stories reflect that.
-They’re all out now!
You don’t have to wait for the rest of the books to come out.
What’s your favourite feminist book? Are you going to read these ones? Tell me in the comments! Also, have an amazing Christmas, even if the day isn’t a particularly special one for you.