Book Review: The Mother of All Questions – Rebecca Solnit



Release Date: May 25th 2017
Publisher: Granta Books
Pages: 176
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: Granta kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis:

Following on from the success of Men Explain Things to Me comes a new collection of essays in which Rebecca Solnit opens up a feminism for all of us: one that doesn’t stigmatize women’s lives, whether they include spouses and children or not; that brings empathy to the silences in men’s lives as well as the silencing of women’s lives; celebrates the ways feminism has shifted in recent years to reclaim rape jokes, revise canons, and rethink our everyday lives.

Review:

This is the first book by Rebecca Solnit that I have read. I’ve heard such fascinating things about Men Explain Things to Me so I jumped at the chance to read the follow up. In this selection of essays Solnit touches on a number of different topics, including silence, rape jokes and the way in which rape victims are often seen as partly to blame.

The essays were intelligently written and I found them very enlightening. My one issue with this book is that there is quite a bit of repetition. Some of the essays reference previous essays in the book and provide a summary of what I have just previously written. I’m aware that this is because the essays featured in different places before they were collated, but I found it a tad grating to have so much repetition.

The writing is easy to follow, it isn’t too overly complex and really breaks down our society and drills at the heart of many of the problems we face. I particularly enjoyed “Men Explain Lolita to Me” and the discussions around books that women should not bother reading. I definitely think this book is essential reading for any feminist, and I’m definitely planning on picking up some of Solnit’s previous writings. This book is passionate, thought-provoking and definitely the best non-fiction book I have read in 2017.

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