Amber Tamblyn has been acting since she was a child, and raised in a very “Hollywood” environment. Her father is Russ Tamblyn from West Side Story, and she has a lot of famous people listed as godfathers on her Wikipedia page. She’s famous for several roles, notably The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Joan of Arcadia and last season or so of House. She’s also married to a fairly famous actor (David Cross — she discusses him in the book, not always in a glowing way). All in all, a rather privileged young woman, and she could probably lie back and coast for a while. Instead, she is using her fame and resources to advocate for those less privileged around her.
“We are a nation that still cannot wrap its head around the overwhelming inequality among genders and races in our society and institutional systems. We are a nation that cannot agree on the definition of misogyny, let alone put a finger on its pervasiveness or manifestation. But there seem to be benchmark eras in our history that have brought great and radical change to fruition—times when we weren’t just living through difficulties, but actively confronting our values and agitating for revolutionary change. I believe we are in one of those eras right now.”
This book is not a memoir, although it does touch on a bit of Tamblyn’s upbringing and acting roles. Instead, it’s a collection of essays about how inequality has affected her, how it affects others, and how to join the fight. It was a great book to read following Michelle Obama’s Becoming — both are inspiring accounts of women using their relative privilege to bring about change. The essays here tackle some heavy subjects — the #MeToo movement, the pressure on women to be perfect (especially in Hollywood), her support of and campaigning for Hilary Clinton and the horror of Trump’s election. She also touches on personal experiences with abortion, mental health and motherhood, and the controversies surrounding her husband (she doesn’t shy away from his reputation but she definitely defends some of his choices, which seems out of character when examined along with the rest of her book). Tamblyn includes chapters by two other women, Airea D. Matthews and Meredith Talusan, to give them a platform for their own voices as well . She fully admits to her own privilege as a “white feminist”, and how she had to come to terms with what that means. It’s a really interesting perspective from a celebrity, and while I wasn’t super impressed by the writing, I did like the message overall.