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Bitter Bitch [Paperback]

Maria Sveland
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 Jan 2011
On a miserable January morning Sarah is sitting on a plane to Tenerife - dickheads' destination of choice - for a week-long getaway. She's just realised that she's very angry and becoming a bitter bitch, despite being just thirty years old. With her on the plane she has a copy of Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying" and wishes it were 1975 instead of 2005. Sarah never intended for things to turn out the way they have: she just dreamed of love like everyone else. But now she's sitting here, thinking about all the injustices she's suffered. Thinking about how thoroughly fooled she was by the promise of love - the one that makes us want to start a family. Thinking about all the women she knows who, like her, were drained of all their energy by family hell - an inheritance passed down directly from generation to generation, from her restless mother's eczema-covered dishpan hands to her own nervous over-achiever complex. Angry and candid, "Bitter Bitch" is an uncompromising novel, at the heart of which is one of the most important women's issues: how can we ever have an egalitarian society when we can't even live in equality with those we love?

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (27 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849012687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849012683
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 906,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Compelling and thought-provoking read --Dazed and Confused - Florence Welch

The book s strength lies in Maria Sveland s honesty and conviction her anger, sorrow, powerlessness and rebelliousness reach out to us in a way that feels absolutely genuine. --Svenska Dagbladet - Paulina Helgeson

This is one of the books that really gets at you. And it is entertaining. (...) It is not just a polemic, not just divisive, not narrow-minded. After Bitterfittan the discussions round the dinner table can do more for equality than all the extremist speeches in the world. --Expressen - Mattias Bergman

Book Description

The international bestseller that shocked Europe. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, well thought out, relevant 2 Feb 2011
I will always remember reading "The Woman's Room" in my early 20's. I started to read fear of flying a while ago so know the gyst. Fear of Flying is referenced in this new book a lot. In a Northern European way that is refreshing, Sveland shhots from the hip. She says what she thinks and is unapologetic about it. I love that. She is a young mother (30) and is grappling with societal anomolies that are all to easy to become "used to" and ignore. The UK still has the greatest gender pay disparity in the EU (apparently) which begs the question, when did equality drop off the agenda? Gender equality I mean. There are grand strides being made against racism and now ageism (quite rightly), but sexism? Accept or be vocal. Thanks Maria. You opened my eyes again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book 19 Aug 2013
Is it allowed to find mothering desperately hard work, although you adore your child? To seethe when you see male colleagues promoted beyond their ability and over your head? Or does that just make you a 'Bitter Bitch'...

This is a witty, truthful novelised look at the inequalities women and Mums still face, not just in the big bad world, but right at home. And, apparently, even in Sweden, supposed haven of equality.

I found myself thinking, YES! every few pages as Sveland's heroine uncovered the everyday unkindnesses, unfairness and lack of understanding most women have faced, but aren't supposed to make a fuss about.

She and her husband, who is a pretty good bloke, find their paths diverging more than they had ever imagined after they have a child. The central question is how can there be such inequality between a man and woman who love each other, and how can they survive it? Big, and taboo, themes tackled from a personal point-of-view: I'm buying copies for a few of my girlfriends, and their chaps!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great intentions that are not followed through 28 Oct 2011
I started reading this book with great enthusiasm, although the title put me off - something is definitely lost in translation there. Soon, however, my enthusiasm turned into frustration as Maria Sveland's ideas never develop into mature arguments, but remain whimsical and under-developed. The book is a catalogue of triggers of frustration for new mothers, all the way from waking up at night to not being able to pursue a career without guilt, going through men's assumption that the woman will always hold the baby. The latter point is probably the most dwelled on in the book and gives it value and some justification to be included in pro women equality books. Maria's style is not literary at all, but merely streams of consciousness, which is another frustration for the reader. The ending takes Maria right back to where she started without having changed or achieved anything at all, and yet she is happy and content giving the impression that there are no more battles for women to fight - only trips to be taken on their own away from their young families. This I think is the book's greatest failing, and it almost de-qualifies it from being included in pro women equality books!
If you prepare yourself to be underwhelmed, the book is probably still worth a read as it does genuinely air, no matter how weakly, many of women's frustrations with how backwards modern western societies still are when it comes to issues of equality.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introspective approach to society's undiscussables 5 Sep 2011
By C R Lee - Published on
Sara, the protagonist narrator, takes us on an introspective journey into her current state of mind through her present observations and memories of her past. She has taken leave of her husband and toddler son (and January in Stockholm) to get away for a week and collect herself. The author deftly brings us back and forth between Sara's present state and her childhood/young adulthood. In a very readable story, the author addresses many of our modern society's undiscussable realities: that women aren't as happy and equal as many pretend to be or convince themselves that they are. She also raises some of society's darker undercurrents (alcoholism/divorce/sexual assault) in the context of a real life without being gruesome or titillating and without making them stereotypical or tidy. Throughout the story, she interweaves quotes from Erica Jong's Fear of Flying as a backdrop to Sara's reflection on how things have (or haven't) changed in over 30 years of feminism.

So many of her observations captured my thoughts and feelings about today's society and its expectations, especially of women. Her views are so similar to mine, yet so taboo--at least here in the US where every woman is expected to want/have/love children in this happy happy (and unreal) place. At times, I found myself laughing at the author's insightfulness about topics I wouldn't discuss with my best girlfriends for fear of offending them with my opinions.

I'm afraid that what I've written doesn't do the book justice or serve it well, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes books a little deeper than the more common "Women's Fiction" pablum.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought-a thought provoking read 7 Nov 2011
By S.Kar - Published on
Bitter bitch; translated from Swedish to English, is written by Maria Sveland, a journalist and feminist about her experience of motherhood. Recently, a new mother myself, I read this book with great interest. Beautifully interspersed with poignant memoirs from her childhood, in which lie the foundation for her theme about the inherent challenge to female self-worth, Sveland starts her story when she escapes on a week-long holiday by herself leaving her husband and son behind. But she is so brimming with rage and bitterness that at the start of the story, she agitates, alienates, even annoys with her aggression. Perhaps the clunky English from the translation does not help? But then her intelligence and the brutally honest questions started to resonate, and I ended up wanting to recommend it to all my friends, male or female who have recently become parents. I have even re-read this book again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book For Bitter Bitches 3 Jan 2013
By M. Archer - Published on
I am a product of being a teen in the early 70's, so much hope for all of us, but as we progressed into the 80's our independence and respect for our needs and wants were overtaken by the media referring to us a manly, non domestic, lesbians, unable to even understand any complex thoughts. I was so high on being a women with options in the 70's I got an engineering degree. Talk about a "minority" fill job, they want you mainly to fill their diversity needs, not much chance of moving up too far and oh my! when I did get married and have a child my salary was cut because I'd been out of the workforce for 3 months. I was encouraged to just "stay home with my child". Life has turned out just as s**^^y for over achieving women as this author writes about. You have to be a woman to understand I guess. Highly recommended. I too am a Bitter Bitch!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not easy to be a mom 1 May 2012
By Laura A. Wideburg - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book takes up the challenges that face young mothers when a career is on hold and time for yourself becomes rare and fleeting. The author expresses many emotions that women feel but keep to themselves. The feeling of being abandoned can be extremely strong in that first year. Although I often dreamed of escaping for some time to reflect during my first year as a mom, I wasn't able to do so. The novel's main character, Sara, takes such a trip as an escape and reflects over the difficulties of real female equality in a relationship undergoing the radical shift of the first child. At times, the main character appears a bit whiny, however, but she is honest. I read this book as part of a book club and noticed that the older generation was much more condemning of the audacity of the main character to be so "selfish" as to leave her child with her husband for one week. The husband has been leaving the child for weeks at a time! Younger women today do not have the surrounding community of stay-at-home moms that my mother's generation had -- and the dream of just getting some sleep reflects the reality that working people are not as available for their families as they'd been in the past. A good read with much to think about.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful 7 Sep 2011
By MSW - Published on
This author has great insights and sees so much of what is strange and awkward about gender power dynamics in families and work places. I love her honesty and unabashed sharing of what she sees. I haven't read such a clearly written hard hitting book in decades - and I read hundreds of books a year - and felt a thrill of recognition at the turn of every page. Well worth reading!
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