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Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women Paperback – 1 May 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Quartet Books; 1st paperback edition (1 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704381079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704381070
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. Tighe on 3 Aug 2007
Format: Paperback
let me start by clarifying a couple of points made by other reviewers.
Anna Nicole Smith was deffinately not O.J. Simpsons wife in any shape or form, it was Nicole Brown Simpson, who is written about in the book. Also another reviewer says Elizabeth 1 would have made a good example, she is deffinately mentioned in the book, ok she doesnt get a full chapter, but she is not glossed over either. A constant critism seems to be that Ms Wurtzel chose to write about mainly american women, of course she did, she is american and grew up hearing about these women, she understands american values and culture. she couldn't write the book from the stand point of african women beacuse she is what she is. So although women from all over the globe are mentioned in the book, it is mainly americanised. Sometimes while reading the book the authour goes over the same material so many times you get a sense of deja vu. And sometimes Ms Wurtzel never seems to know exactly what she is trying to say, yes she wants to stand on her own and be under no mans rule and then she seems almost whimsical about wanting to find the right man. All in all though a very interesting read.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Burns VINE VOICE on 6 Sep 2003
Format: Paperback
During her publicity tour for 'Bitch' (recounted in the later book 'More Now Again'), Elizabeth Wurtzel became intensely irritated with repeatedly being asked who she considered to be the great bitches. It tells both her and us two things. That the interviewers hadn’t read the book and that for many people the idea of a ‘bitch’, a sort of Margaret Thatcher / Alexis from Dynasty are very different to the kind of woman this book is about. Over the course of five essays Wurtzel tries to capture why it is that women are described with this kind of negative branding and described as manipulative when in fact they’re not really doing anything any more scandalous than their male counterparts, and that frequently they have to give up their independence as well, piggybacking on a man.
The mood of the book is perfectly captured by a story at the centre. She describes how Bill and Hilary Clinton drove into a garage, only to find their car being services by one of Hilary’s childhood sweethearts. The ex-President apparently turned to her and said: “If you’d married him you’d be the wife of a gas station attendant, “ to which she replied, “No, I wouldn’t. I’d be married to the President of the United States of America.” One of the stronger themes in the book is that behind most strong men there is an even stronger woman just behind. And that most of these strong women are also basket cases because the masculine presence creates an emotional glass ceiling; they literally can’t live with him or without him.
In fact, in this case the title is as much a verb as the assumed noun. There is a lot of venom on display in the book; Wurtzel is ultimately disappointed with the poor showing of her gender on occasion after occasion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia Wurtzel on 5 Dec 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a fan of both Wurtzel and of feminist literature, I bought this book with a keen enthusiasm to delve into the author's views on the topic of "misbehaving women" throughout history, which is essentially what the book is all about. But I certainly wasn't expecting to be confronted by such a gruelling and uninspiring piece of work. I was seriously disappointed. Wurtzel seems to go off on many incoherent tangents whilst hardly making any valid and interesting points. What I was ultimately looking forward to turned out to be somewhat of a chore. The only reason I've given this book two stars rather than one is because I've always enjoyed Wurtzel's writing, but unfortunately there isn't anything positive to be said about this book of hers in particular.
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Format: Paperback
...to quote from a familiar bumper-sticker. Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote this staccato tour-de-force of American popular culture, with a feminist slant, as the last millennium was drawing to a close. I was overseas at the time, and not paying too much attention to the back-home scene, so I found this read useful in providing at least snapshots images that dominated the culture back then: Amy Fisher, and her raging teenage hormones, Margaux Hemingway, Nicole Simpson and OJ, and the saddest case of all, in my opinion, Hedda Nussbaum's battered face and body, at the hands of Joel Steinberg. Wurtzel's attempts to relate these disparate people and events within a framework of more serious feminists works, commencing with an epigraph from Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own (Penguin Modern Classics)and ending with one from Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. Naturally, Mary Wollstonecraft makes cameo appearances along the way. And what a great title for her epilogue: "Did I Shave My Legs for This?"

Staccato is operative, on speed even, as several other reviewers have suggested that the author was. On virtually each page, there are multiple proper names and the italics denoting the name of books, movies, or songs. For me, much was familiar, but there were also numerous references that flew over my head... just not "plugged in" enough, I guess. Quite a few reviewers didn't care for her attitude, which, I suspect, was more than a little tongue in cheek. I think that was a tongue, at least.
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