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3.7 out of 5 stars
Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2013
Could not put this book down. Very well written and funny too.every woman should read this book feminist or not just to get you to realise how our whole lives can be influenced by the media and people around us. A book I will be reading again and again I'm sure
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 22 April 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have consciously avoided the emerging genre of books written by funny, feminist, funky women writers (I'm thinking of Caitlin Moran in particular) because I had dismissed them as merely being concerned with fashion, sex & make-up none of which interest me. I decided to give Hadley Freeman's (a fashion journalist) book a try because I had occasionally read her pieces in the Guardian and was interested in how she'd explain herself. I thought I'd hate this book, I thought it'd be what I call 'fake feminism' which is basically how to empower yourself by getting down on your knees.
I was surprised and delighted to find that Freeman has not only got an answer to questions I'd throw at her but that they are well thought out and very well argued. Namely she points out how the fashion industry isn't about sexualising women but is in fact about individuality. She separates the different types of representation of women, the horrid tabloids to the women's magazines. I was deeply taken with her idea that celebrity stories are more about the story itself than the celebrities that are cast as characters, an idea that she links to Dickens and the concept of serial stories. I found her discussion on body hair removal to be hilarious and extremely true, I agree with her completely. Similarly her call for the end of self-deprecation is a welcome one and is something I've often thought of myself. I must also say I was most amazed for a fashion loving woman to admit that high heels are merely modern day foot binding. My respect for Freeman soared after reading that as it also increased when she pointed out something I truly hate; namely the media's insistence on creating female 'cat-fights' such as Aniston vs Jolie. I've met more than one woman who actually dislike Jolie, a woman they don't even know, because she 'stole' Brad Pitt.
I do have some criticisms. She points out that women shouldn't take the power (threat) away from their serious points by using text speak or funny voices but I think she borders on this herself when she uses slang such as 'NQOCD' (had to google that one). Secondly she speaks about oral sex using a very vulgar term for male oral sex (a term I really despise and can't repeat on Amazon) but the female equivalent is given the 'very proper name' which appears to me to be an surprising double-standard in a work concerned with feminism. Either the colloquial for both or neither.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and I laughed all the way through it. Freeman herself notes that there's a 'slender line that divides self-empowerment and self-abasement' and this for me sums up the feminist minefield where modern day women find themselves.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I gave up reading Hadley Freeman's broadsheet columns a few years ago, as I could never work out whether they were supposed to be straight advice or tongue in cheek. This book is clear from the start, it's a reaction against the many pigeon holes and artificial gender demands placed upon modern women. It's a fight back against cheapo mags that run full page features entitled "Ewww! Look at her cellulite! Gross!" and tabloids shouting "Woman hired as CEO? Who will care for her family whilst she's being so selfish?"

Bearing in mind that Hadley Freeman was Victoria Beckham's ghostwriter for That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between, Hadley's not a novice in her field. However this isn't a "how-to" book, its Hadley's thoughts and observations on women's issues and media portrayal. This is a book firmly aimed at women (not girls - irrespective of whether the term is being used for children, or for infantilising adult women) and is a very worthwhile, and very funny, reminder that it's okay to have wrinkles, not wear mini-skirts if you don't want to, and there's no law saying you must marry and mate.

I get the feeling this book will probably marketed alongside How To Be a Woman which is a shame, as they're not alike at all. The Caitlin Moran book was pretty much "how to be Caitlin Moran", the Hadley Freeman book is a much wider look at the flawed portrayal of adult women in films, TV and other media and the unfounded expectations it places on women.

All that makes this book sound rather heavy. It isn't. It bounces along at a cracking place, the chapters are short so you can pick up and put down at will, and it really is a funny and entertaining read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2014
Overall I liked this book a lot, but there were times when Hadley was contradicting herself. For example, she has a whole chapter telling women that they CAN wear things from Topshop, in fact, they can wear whatever they want. But then goes on to say that if they do shop at Topshop, walk past the young looking clothes to the more mature stuff at the back. Surely if we can wear what we want then she shouldn't tell us what not to wear?

There were some chapters I enjoyed a great deal, like the one about rules in a relationship, but completely skipped others, like the one about how she connected with Winona Ryder in a film in the 90s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2014
Hadley Freeman writes well, and engagingly. I have read many a book on this subject, from the academic to the 'yes-im-a-feminist-but-please-love-me-anyway-fellas' bandwagonism. I enjoyed the book and agreed with the majority of what Ms Freeman had to say, primarily because it is good, truthful stuff. I did however feel a little harangued at times, which seemed a little ironic when she was haranguing us about choice :-). But strong opinions are no bad thing, and it gave the book enthusiasm & passion. Worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2014
What a refreshing change to read a book by a modern feminist who doesn't feel the need to apologise for her feminism, and doesn't try to make her beliefs more palatable by contantly going on about how much she loves men and make-up, and by being self-deprecating about her weight and looks. If that makes this book sound dry and dull, nothing could be further from the truth. It's funny and anecdotal and it has a very pleasing no-nonsense tone - anyone who enjoys Hadley's writing in the Guardian will love this.
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on 8 May 2014
Desperate for an injection of flippancy and humour into the serious subject of feminism, I came across Be Awesome during a browse on Amazon. Where Bates draws upon the collective experiences of people taking part in the ESP, Freeman takes a more autobiographical look at when and where feminism is needed in contemporary life.

Her style is irreverent and conversational, and feels more like a chat amongst friends about some of the ridiculousness of the image of ‘womanhood’. I did chuckle a lot while reading, but sometimes the writing was a little to casual for me so I sometimes stumbled with comprehension. However the breadth of topics covered, from the representation of women in films through dating and her guide to being a modern-day feminist, made me want to keep reading. Sadly, the end of the book tailed off into a series of lists (awesome women, awesome books and awesome films) which felt a little weak to me and left me feeling a little disappointed.

If you hate the Daily Mail, and don’t take yourself too seriously, then this will make you laugh.
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on 26 April 2014
I'd like to see the three central characters of this work of genius - Truth, Good Old-Fashioned Common Sense and Hilarity - have it out in a public forum; I honestly have no clue which would win. No need for such a violent spectacle though, as Hadley has concocted us a perfect blend of sadly necessary, universal and squawk-inducing perspectives on the at once horribly complex and yet gratifyingly simple dilemma of modern womanhood.
This book is so good that it deserves to be in the 'list of Awesome books' at the end. Though that would make Hadley a bit of a back-slapper, which clearly she is not. I liked it so much that I'm currently plotting ways to 'casually' meet her so we can become bessie mates. Kidding! Maybe.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I wasn't sure what to make of this book to start with, and suspect that is as much because I have not read of a lot (any!) of Hadley Freeman's work. However, once I understood a bit more about her style, I found this quite an amusing read.

The author goes through a series of stereotypes, according to modern media (newspapers, magazines etc) on how we, as women, should both perceive ourselves and be perceived. So, you have "A day in your life in Daily Mail headlines", which looks at how common actions such as buying one cup of tea in the canteen, must be a sure sign that women are heading towards solitary lives; the utter fashion faux pas of wearing the same pair of shoes three days running and how clearly, if you have no social life because you are at work, it must be becasue you are denying your feminism. Then we have the rant about baby showers. I have to agree with her there! We have "Why you are never too old for Topshop", which explains how the buyers of fashion shops need us mature ladies to buy the hidden signature pieces, rather than the fashion mistakes, because when it comes down to it, we are the ones with the money to spend.

My favourite chapter though was written from the perspective of a celebrity interview. I was crying with laughter.

As I said, the more you read this book, the more you will laugh. It is aimed at the older reader, that is, more than about 35 years old, as a lot of the humour seems that way inclined. But damn, this was a funny book, and just puts into perspective that we don't need to go into a state of paranoia just because of what we read in the press.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2013
I loved this book from beginning to end. Hadley's writing style has already been proven to be top notch in her journalistic ventures, but this book has really allowed her to come into her own. I laughed aloud many times. She has the gift of being able to turn a would-be rant/tirade about all the bullsh*t we endure in our daily lives into a hilarious must-read. Friends who won't stop posting pictures of their new born children on Facebook? Daily Mail insisting that everything from baked goods to thin air will give you cellulite? How to deal with the guilt that you want to consider yourself progressive and liberal-thinking but are addicted to celebrity gossip blogs? Hadley imparts amazing advice and tips without sounding preachy. A real pleasure, couldn't put it down!
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