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Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies Paperback – 30 Jan 2014
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‘Freeman manages to be both scathing and serious about being awesome in a way no British writer could … The writing is fresh, original. It is tempting to gorge on this collection at breakneck speed. But it works better as a series of witty polemics on women’s place in society’ Observer
‘Reading this memoir-cum-conversation is like sitting in a pub with a group of girlfriends, setting the world to rights and suddenly becoming aware of another group talking about the same issues — hair removal, abortion, the tyranny of tiny knickers, the state of female sexuality — only they are more raucous, cooler, ruder and more intellectually engaged’ Sunday Times
‘Freeman writes with real passion and cold fury … and she writes warmly and kindly about dating, sex and how to cope when all your friends suddenly disappear into the baby-making void … it’s good to know you have someone that fearless, funny and – yes - awesome in your corner’ Stylist Magazine, Book Wars
‘Though angry she is rueful, though witty she admits her complicity. Fiercely she recommends books, films, female role models, sexual attitudes and nutritional advice to women marching along the high road towards redemption’ The Times
About the Author
Hadley Freeman is the author of The Meaning of Sunglasses and has been a columnist and staff writer for The Guardian since 2000, where she writes the popular ‘Ask Hadley’ fashion column. She also contributes to US Vogue. She lives in New York and London.
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This was written in an easy to read and enthusiastic style. Worth a 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.
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.
"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."
What follows is Hadley Freeman's blueprint for being a woman. It is funny, free thinking and feminist. People who read Hadley's column in the Guardian will know what to expect. People who have not read Hadley's work before, prepare to let your hackles rise, because the chances are that this is not for you.
Perhaps the best way to gauge if you will enjoy this book is to look at Hadley's list of awesome women: Betty White, Decca Mitford, Miss Piggy, Katharine Graham, Bea Arthur, Katharine Hepburn, Nina Simone, Gloria Steinem, Hadley Richardson and George Eliot. If you can appreciate their awesomeness, then this book is for you. If you cannot understand why they are to be admired, this book will raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels.
I really enjoyed it. It is a funny, witty look at an age old problem. My only sadness is that in 2013, a young female journalist felt that it needed to be written. It is a sad fact that gender equality lags far behind the other movements for equality - race, disability, sexuality. So far behind, in fact, that the very word "feminist" is seen by many either as a joke or a term of abuse.
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It's full of stale cliches and annoying comments.Read more
For women who like chatting and going and going about complaining and then to have some piece on advice in between...Read more