Anytime I walk into the library, I have to check the “new releases” shelf before I go anywhere else. A lot of times I find new-to-me authors and books that I wouldn’t have otherwise sought out.
I had never heard of Anne Helen Peterson before picking up this book. I’ll admit that I didn’t even realize that Buzzfeed had serious authors… so I guess I went into this book with some preconceived notions. I was really wrong. This book is concise, engaging, and it really challenged me in ways that I didn’t expect.
The book is broken up into 10 chapters, each focusing on an unruly celebrity who is viewed as being “too much” in at least one area of their life. The first chapter, “Too Strong” is about Serena Williams and is an excellent way to open the book. Anne Helen Peterson covers how Williams’ gender affected the way that she was treated and how her race was used against her. Both the chapter on Williams and the chapter on Nicki Minaj address the fact that women of color are treated differently and held to different standards than white women in the same field. After reading the first chapter, I knew I’d definitely finish this book.
Some of the women in the book will be known to all (like Hilary Clinton and Madonna) and others might not be (Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson were new to me.) I don’t think this makes the book any less insightful. I still enjoyed every chapter and each one left me thinking for days and noticing the subtle ways that society judges these women and other women like them.
I’d definitely recommend checking out this book. Even when I didn’t necessarily agree 100% with the author, I still found myself challenged and seeing new perspectives. I also loved that the format of the book made it easy to read a chapter, take a break, ponder it for a while, and then return to the book.
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