You get exactly what you paid for with this. I can’t say I’ve been particularly aware of West in the past. I’ve probably read some of her work before online but it’s pretty rare for me to look at the author byline so who knows. Still, West does a great job of weaving who she is and why she is writing this book into her essays such that even if you weren’t really aware of her before you don’t feel like you’ve entered a story halfway through. Not a lot of authors of what is, in essence, a memoir, do that successfully.
That said, I don’t really know who this book is for. It is a series of essays about topics in feminism, but who is the audience? One the one hand, it feels like an introduction to feminism. Things that are obviously true, but basic. Stuff like “In a certain light, feminism is just the long slow realization that everything you love hates you.” Sure. Yes. It reminds me of the Onion article “Woman stops being a feminist to enjoy 30 minutes of television” that I still laugh about like once a week. But on the other hand, the tone of the book is asking the reader to really examine their internal biases as if she is educating the reader about her own experiences rather than commiserating with them. It reads like a book written for people who have not really engaged deeply with any of these topics before (sexism, fat shaming, abortion), but those people would never pick up this book except to hate read it, in which case the odds of them coming around based on its content is probably low?
That’s not to say that it isn’t enjoyable, but it seems more like affirmations for people who already mostly get it so if that’s not what you’re looking for, you won’t find much in these pages.