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IT’S MESSY: On Boys, Boobs, and Badass Women ~Amanda de Cadenet

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

IT’S MESSY is a memoir told in short and often funny essays.  I read the book cover to cover, I laughed, was amazed and also the book made me very sad. I think many high school students and young adults would gain insights from reading her story and her understandings.  I disagreed with her slant on one-night stands and was a bit repulsed by it actually, though liked her bravado on many other fronts.  I knew nothing about her before reading the book.

A teenager who was covered by the Tabloids extensively and most likely was sexually abused or assaulted early on in life ran away to the streets and drugs and then figured out she needed more “money” in order to stabilize her future. She, de Cadenet, went on to figure out what she did best and then act on it and slowly and surely build a future; with big jumps and interesting marriages.

About Amanda de Cadenet

Amanda de Cadenet is a creative force with a lifelong career in the media. She began as a host on British television at the age of fifteen and became a sought-after photographer shortly after—as a result her impressive photography career already spans nearly twenty years. She is the youngest woman ever to shoot a Vogue cover and has photographed many of the most influential figures in popular and political culture. As a media entrepreneur, Amanda is the creator of The Conversation, a series that showcases her in-depth interviews on real topics with celebrated women. Whether it’s in conversations with Lady Gaga, Sarah Silverman, Zoe Saldana, Chelsea Handler, or Gwyneth Paltrow, or in discussions with devoted followers of her social channels, Amanda delivers an honest and authentic voice. The series has aired in eighteen countries and is featured online, with over ten million viewers. In January 2016, Amanda conducted an exclusive one-on-one interview with presidential candidate Secretary Clinton. In February 2016, Amanda launched #Girlgaze, a digital media company-utilizing user submitted content and highlighting the work of women Gen Z photographers and directors.

Find out more about Amanda at her website, and connect with Amanda on Facebook, Amanda on Twitter, Amanda on Instagram .

I think there are some girls who are just anxious to get into their “own” lives at an early age.  I think of one of my daughter’s classmates who by 12 was heavy into sex and by 15 drugs.  She did not want to go to school and now in her 30s has not found her way.   I think she could have benefited from this book that finds that the true bottom line in life is liking yourself – no loving yourself.

IT’S MESSY is a challenging read with some tough language issues and yet it could make a difference in someone’s life and journey to success.


I Hate Everyone Except You
Dressing A Tiger

HE, SHE, IT: A Novel ~Marge Piercy

Monday, August 31st, 2015

HE, SHE, IT is not a new novel and it is one from my own personal library. I read it the first time in 1991 when it was required reading at the college where I worked.   It was fascinating when I first read it and it stuck with me over all the years.   Then I saw it for 5 cents on a sale table and I purchased it to read again and I was not disappointed.  I even put it on our book group’s schedule for November of this year because I wanted to make sure I read it again.

Long story short of it, I liked this book then and I liked this book now. The writing is fabulous and the parallel stories give it a solid strength and dynamic, and I just could not get enough of the similarities to how our world is turning out right now.    Any binge TV watchers or movie series in the room?

The story takes place in the 21st Century after lots of pollution and soil erosion has ruined the environment. Shira is a brilliant tech person working for the Big Multi Corporations, who has just experienced a divorce and having her child taken away. She escapes her trauma and her job by going back to a free town, Tikva, where her Grandmother a brilliant programmer and historian reared her. Tikva is a free settlement and the people grow their own “real” not vat food and are working at restoring bird life and moral values to their primarily Jewish community.

Shira’s Grandmother and her colleague have built a robot/ cyborg to protect their community not only on the NET but also in their personal lives and this is illegal because the cyborg looks and acts human.  Shira falls in love with Yod and he assists her in recovering her son and bringing him to Tikva.

“As always, Piercy writes with high intelligence, love for the world, ethical passion, and innate feminism.”  (Adrienne Rich – book cover).

The parallel story of the Jewish Golem in Prague in the 1600s is quite fascinating and an interesting replay of that tradition in Jewish literature.  How to build salvation, redemption, and protection in a robot or clay to save the city and the religion from persecution?   A question with a lifetime of study and well handled in HE, SHE, IT.

There are so many parallels to our current lives that it is amazing that the story was written so many years ago.   We seem to need to be entertained and to keep our minds distracted.   We need to earn credits (money) to perfect our physical selves and to dazzle with our clothing and exterior bling.  We don’t seem to be able to control or understand our emotions and dozens of folks are on our streets with their own brand of justice and weapons. Women are expendable and lower class than men. Binge watching is our stimulation and we can download so many distractions and find ways to follow any fad or temporary fixes.  Distractions are us.   Not many thinkers or readers and definitely not many questioners and folks analyzing the situation.

I am looking forward to discussing this book with my book group and digging into the moral issues and the meaningful issues presented in this story. I think you will not be disappointed and I highly recommend HE, SHE, IT to my readers.

There is lots of action and romance in this story.  HE, SHE, IT stands the test of time.

About the Author:

“Marge Piercy is the author of numerous novels, among them Woman on the Edge of Time, Vida, Braided Lives, Gone to Soldiers, and Summer People.  She has written 15 volumes of Poetry by the time this book was published.  She has coauthored a play, The Last White Class, with her husband Ira Wood, the Novelist and screen writer, with who she lives on Cape Cod.”

I could actually just fill up this whole review with a list of her writing.  Piercy is prolific and an essential writer to everyone’s list of great reads.  She is an activist.

Marge Piercy Wikipedia 

The Sowing 
The Shock Doctrine 
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter 
When Women Were Birds

A STRANGE STIRRING: The FEMININE MYSTIQUE and American Women at the the Dawn of the 1960s ~ Stephanie Coontz

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

A Strange Stirring  is quite a read.  It is a comprehensive look back at what Betty Freidan’s   best seller the FEMININE MYSTIQUE   said, created, and did not say or create.  The research is quite extensive and the claims are even more amazing.  As a student who read the MYSTIQUE in about 1969, it was fascinating to go back and read the book again, years later, and to see what was intrigued and formulated.  I appreciated the scholarship and the ease of reading afforded by this book

I think the key concept I would take away from A STRANGE STIRRING is that MYSTIQUE polarized the population and much of the reaction to this book created a false premise and system of beliefs.  The good news of the book is that the women who actually read the MYSTIQUE could stop blaming themselves; it was not their fault and society needed a makeover.

We have to remember this is the start of the MAD MEN  philosophy of materialism, enculturation, and propaganda and they used this information in a huge campaign to get folks to become totally dependent, fearful, addicted to shopping and acquisitions.

Coontz did a marvelous job of researching and surveying the mature woman who read the book in the 60s and 70s  and those that refused or thought they had read the book.  Coontz had large numbers of her current students at THE EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE also read the book, discuss and take the surveys.   The vastly different responses to the book and how many people thought they remembered or knew what the MYSTIQUE was about is astounding, or maybe I should say unnerving. Overall they remember what advertisers claimed and the conservative religious movement proclaimed and not actually what material was part of the book.

Some of the confusion was allowed to stand because the Feminist Movement wanted Friedan to be the name associated with the start of the NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN (NOW).  Friedan was quite willing to lend her famous profile to this start up and also assisted in creating several major magazines.

The timeliness of the publication of A Strange Stirring does not go unnoticed, by this reviewer.  I was in Graduate School very near the work going on in New York City and I heard many of the Feminist Movement’s greatest voices of that era.   I had also just spent 2 years in the South working on the Civil Rights movement and voter registrations.  I completed an internship in a Domestic Violence and Incest Center in the deep South and left there for Graduate School.  This book put me right back into the conflicts and feelings of the times of my life and the polarization being promoted particularly the “moral conservatives” and the incredible igniting of power within women.

I am left wondering if women will have to lose all of their health care, support services, educational opportunities, rights and positions before the Phoenix will rise and folks will witness just how much they took for granted and what they lost.  A Strange Stirring is a vivid reminder of how the media can reconstruct and delude our thinking and how polarization creates unnatural controls and fear.

Do you ever feel as though you are going backwards in time? History is repeating itself in a harmful way?  Has something you have seen or read helped you rethink and reexamine past events?   Did you read the FEMININE MYSTIQUE?  What did you think it said?

No one paid me to read or review this book, I purchased it for my own library.  If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you

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Related Reading:
The Last Gift of Time 
Search Inside Yourself 
The Art Of The Sale
Shiny Objects