As I mentioned in my last review, I’m a sober person who does Alcoholics Anonymous. Part of the steps is making amends, and the way my sponsorship network starts that process is by starting a list of resentments and working through our reasons for them and (when applicable) finding where our part of things lies. As a side note, I really appreciate my sponsor because she does not expect us to find fault in cases where we are victimized: she believes (correctly, I think) that there are plenty of resentments a person has no part/guilt in.
Anyway, at the beginning of this year I realized I needed to go through this process again because I had a resentment that was sitting heavy in my mind on a pretty much daily basis. I didn’t think going through the process was going to make the resentment go away, nor did I think I had fault to find in it for myself, but I thought going through this examination process would help make it easier to handle, and it did. That resentment: I resented the patriarchy with all my damn heart, and men in general with it.
I’ve always thought there’s something to be said by this kind of resentment on the part of members of oppressed groups: we come by it honest. We’ve earned it. And a certain amount of suspicion and wariness about our oppressors is just wise. But I’ve also always struggled to find the balance between necessary, useful, powerful anger and helpless, destructive anger that doesn’t help me or anyone else. So I was so happy to read this book, which discusses those ideas in depth, on both a personal and societal level, and at the end even gives suggestions for ways to examine and make use of our anger, instead of “letting it go” and pretending it doesn’t exist as women are so often trained to do.
If you, like me, are an angry feminist, this is a book I can almost guarantee you’ll love.