Book Review | The Camera My Mother Gave Me by Susanna Kaysen

the-camera-my-mother-gave-me-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Camera My Mother Gave Me
AUTHOR: Susanna Kaysen
PUBLISHER: Knopf
RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2001
GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir
PAGE COUNT: 149


In this soul-bearing memoir by the author of Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen chronicles her relationship with her vagina.  When this under-appreciated part of her anatomy starts to hurt, destroying her sex life, her vagina suddenly becomes the centre of her universe.  Susanna is forced to analyse her new relationships with emotional abuse and chronic pain, and how all this impacts her identity as a woman… in a nutshell, everything you’re not supposed to talk about in public.
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Graphic Memoir Review | Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

persepolis-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
AUTHOR: Marjane Satrapi
PUBLISHER: Pantheon
RELEASE DATE: 2000
GENRE: Graphic Memoir
PAGE COUNT: 153


Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s first person account of growing up as a politically active girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.  While giving readers insight into life during that time, what stood out to me most was how coming of age goes hand-in-hand with developing new ways of seeing the world.

In Persepolis, Marjane is a hotheaded young girl.  With the unfiltered honesty of a child, she is outspoken with her political opinions.  She is never afraid to stand up for what she believes, even to the point of putting herself in harm’s way – she’s no stranger to death, having witnessed bombings, stabbings, and executions of political refugees.   Continue reading

#IWD2017 Double Review | The Fictional Woman / Speaking Out: A 21st-Century Handbook for Women and Girls by Tara Moss

Using her wealth of experience as an international model, bestselling crime novelist, human rights activist, and mother, Tara Moss equips readers to confront gender inequality in every aspect of society.  If The Fictional Woman is the ultimate “beginner’s guide” to gender inequality, then Speaking Out is your “travelling companion”.  Through immersive research and intimate wisdom, this dynamic duo will educate and empower.  

I listened to The Fictional Woman and Speaking Out as audio books, and now have a HUGE crush on Tara Moss’s voice.  As a strong and confident speaker, her warmth and wisdom bursts through her rich tone.  Hearing the author read her own work is intimate, and sometimes unearthed my own pain.  Although I plan to buy all my female friends and family members these books for Christmas, I know I’ll be returning to the audio versions.

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Book Review | Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation edited by Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman

gender-outlaws-the-next-generation-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
EDITORS: Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman
PUBLISHER: Seal Press
RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2010
GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir, LGBTQI+
PAGE COUNT: 304


The second gender-bending anthology edited by Kate Bornstein brings together an extraordinary range of trans-spectrum creators.  This book celebrates diverse LGBTQI+ experiences, while encouraging readers to take a long, hard look at their society’s gender laws.  

Instead of looking to the binaries for answers – male/female, femininity/masculinity, sex/gender – I’ve decided to take my body back for myself – for me to shape, show off, love and dress and play.  But above all, for me to name – Transliteration by Francisco Fernández

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Book Review | The Girls by Emma Cline

the-girls-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Girls
AUTHOR: Emma Cline
PUBLISHER: Chatto & Windus
RELEASE DATE: June 14, 2016
GENRE: Adult Fiction
PAGE COUNT: 355


The Girls is an immersive coming of age story revolving around female relationships.  Although this book is often reviewed as a psychological thriller, I found that its deep allure came from its worldly and intimate narrative voice.

In California ’69, Evie Boyd is an awkward, ordinary teen.  When she falls under the spell of wild beauty Suzanne, she becomes obsessed with the older girl’s world – a free love cult led by Pied Piper figure, Russell.  Mesmerised by her new way of life and navigating her budding womanhood, Evie is oblivious to the commune’s sinister undercurrents.

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Book Review | Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia Edited by Amra Pajalic & Demet Divaroren

coming-of-age-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia
EDITORS: Amra Pajalic and Demet Divaroren
PUBLISHER: Allen & Unwin
RELEASE DATE: February 2014
GENRE: Junior Nonfiction, Religion
PAGE COUNT: 200


This collection of short memoirs shares the challenges of growing up Muslim in Australia.  I love that the focus of Coming of Age is on the struggles of being a young person, irrespective of religion.  This makes the authors relatable to junior readers everywhere.  

I wondered if there were going to be girls like me from the Middle East.  Would there be any Muslim students in my class?  And how many of them would have just arrived in Australia as I had?  Would they speak Arabic like me?  Would I be able to keep up with the schoolwork?  Would I make friends? – Muslim Footprint by Arwa El Masri page 84 Continue reading

Book Review | Walking Towards Ourselves: Indian Women Tell Their Stories edited by Catriona Mitchell

walking-towards-ourselves-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Walking Towards Ourselves: Indian Women Tell Their Stories
EDITOR: Catriona Mitchell
PUBLISHER: Hardie Grant Publishing
RELEASE DATE: April 16, 2016
GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir, Politics
PAGE COUNT: 272


In one of the world’s most patriarchal societies, Indian women break their silence by sharing their most intimate stories.  This powerful collection features diverse experiences of womanhood and motherhood in India, to educate and empower with raw honesty.  Walking Towards Ourselves is the most moving and enriching book I’ve had the privilege to read this year.

India is a land where women are worshipped as goddesses … But the real strength of Indian women, those unsung heroines who hold up more than half the sky, comes from the disadvantaged, the indigent and marginalised, the often-silenced majority who till the soil, graze their cattle, work in menial domestic jobs, and look after and sustain their immediate and extended families – Foreword by Namita Gokhale page 4 Continue reading

Book Review | We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists Book Review Paige's PagesTITLE: We Should All Be Feminists
AUTHOR: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
PUBLISHER: Fourth Estate
RELEASE DATE: October 9, 2014
GENRE: Essay, Politics
PAGE COUNT: 52


This pocket-sized essay is developed from the famous TEDx talk by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie.  Although it will take less than an hour to read, its message is powerful enough to resonate for a lifetime.  With exceptional clarity, it uses personal stories to make the damaging effects of gender politics visible to a universal audience.  We Should All Be Feminists is crucial reading for every man, women, and child.  

Gender matters everywhere in the world.  And I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world.  A fairer world.  A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves.  And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently.  We must also raise our sons differently – page 25 Continue reading