Author: Ariel Gore
Published: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Feminist Press
Where I picked up my book: Library
Key Words: witchy, feminism, poverty, young motherhood, resistance
My Rating: 5 star
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Spurred on by nineties “family values” campaigns and determined to better herself through education, a teen mom talks her way into college. Disgusted by an overabundance of phallocratic narratives and Freytag’s pyramid, she turns to a subcultural canon of resistance and failure. Wryly riffing on feminist literary tropes, it documents the survival of a demonized single mother figuring things out.
I couldn’t love this book anymore if I tried! I’m not sure if I missed the hype when it first came out, or if it didn’t get the hype it deserved-but jeeeeze it hit every.single.one. of my bookish (and real life) love languages and more.
First, the blending of magical realism, memoir, fiction, non-fiction, fairy tale and feminist history had me jumping up and down (literally) and whooping with excitement at other times. I was never quite sure if I was reading about Ariel Gore’s life or not, but it didn’t even matter because the sentiment was the same either way. I’m not sure I can even find other novels with this blend of genres, but I’ll forever be on the hunt now.
Second, give me anything feminist and witchy and I just immediately feel more empowered, stronger, and ready to take on whatever stands in my way. Do you ever feel that way? Maybe after attending a rally in your city, or after listening to a feminist politician online? Or when your feminist friends gather to figure out how we will overtake the world? Well…take that feeling and imagine it embracing you throughout the entire reading of this novel. I was full of goosebumps ready to tackle the world, and with midterm elections happening today (!!), I was in an even stronger formation than ever.
Third, it brought up all of these feelings that I have about motherhood that I’m not even sure I knew I had. Or at least feelings that I had tucked down pretty deep into my soul. I do not have children, and as a lesbian, it’s a serious choice I’ve had to think about over and over again for so many years. There aren’t ‘accidental pregnancies’ in my world, but there are invasive ways to get to pregnancy, expensive pregnancies and anxiety-ridden decisions about pregnancies – well…for me all of this is true. My wife and I have decided not to naturally have a child, but it was an agonizing road to get to this decision, and I still second guess our decision, practically daily. All of this is to say-reading about someone care for her child and raise her child in such a loving, nurturing, protective and empowering way, despite all the difficulties that surround this parenthood-well…let’s just say my wife and I had another ‘did we make the right decision’ talk. I think we did, but to see someone love a child this much made me second guess that decision but also to just simply see how beautiful motherhood and raising a child can be, despite all odds. oh, and every time she read to her at night, from one feminist theory books for school, my heart nearly thumped out of my chest. It was beautiful.
I could go on and on about this book…but I just highly suggest heading to your local bookstore and picking it up. It is easily on my top 10 books of 2018 and I promise you, if you’re anything like me, your life will be forever changed after reading it.