Review: Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen

From celebrity gossip expert and BuzzFeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen comes an accessible, analytical look at how female celebrities are pushing boundaries of what it means to be an acceptable woman.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud is divided into ten chapters, each examining unruly female celebrities “who occupy all different corners of the mainstream, from the literary world to Hollywood, from HBO to the tennis court. It includes several women of color, but the prevalence of straight white women serves to highlight an ugly truth: that the difference between cute, acceptable unruliness and unruliness that results in ire is often as simple as the color of a woman’s skin, whom she prefers to sleep with, and her proximity to traditional femininity.”

As you can read in the above quote, The author’s self-awareness was the first thing I noticed and immediately cherished in her writing. There’s no topic Petersen shied away from and this passion of radical honesty and transparency settled into my core. I took a lot away from it.

Though it took me a minute to settle into the frame of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, the essay that secured my interest most was on Broad City’s Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. It won me over in a beat with this single line: “In their world, men are as secondary as female friends are in the traditional rom-com. ”

This is what happy feels like. Oh, and this:

“Both Abbi and Ilana are deeply weird, but within the vividly rendered world of Broad City, their actions make some sort of sense, always in relation to each other. Of course Abbi would pose as Ilana for a six-hour shift at the co-op, or Ilana would devote an entire day to caring for Abbi after oral surgery—they’re each other’s first and foremost. Which is why there are no “bottle episodes” that focus uniquely on one character or the other: not because they’re not individuals, but because they’re always in each other’s orbit.”

Unlike my first impression regarding this book, it came to provide varying perspectives and radically de-center the story from the celebrity; rather focus on the messages and ideas they represent: Serena Williams (too strong), Kim Kardashian West (too pregnant), Hillary Clinton (too shrill), Jennifer Weiner (Too loud), Melissa McCarthy (too fat), and more.

“My hope is that this book unites the enthralling, infuriating, and exhilarating conversations that swirl around these women, but also incites new and more expansive ones. ”

I most certainly enjoyed reading and learning more about these unruly women and the notions they stood for. Feminist works like Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud are something I’ll never tire of seeing either on screen or on paper.

Plus, I’d definitely recommend giving this book a go if you enjoy looking up reviews of celebrities, TV shows, and books… Because this is a comprehensive, yet in-depth pool of knowledge of history, celebrity culture, double standards, LGBTQIA+ representation, feminism and challenging the norms of femininity. And there are of course a myriad other small things scattered throughout to keep you entertained from start to finish. I would say that the only thing I wasn’t too happy about was the fact that Lena Dunham was included in this mix. Thankfully, she was the last essay in here, so I just went ahead and skipped that altogether because I simply cannot support her character.

3.5/5 stars

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Review: What’s It Like in Space? by Ariel Waldman

I’ve tried my hand at a few space books before, but they almost all exclusively went over my head the minute they introduced mathematical equations into their works. So with this collection I was hoping for a more down-to-earth (punny) and accessible read. Thankfully, I got just what I was seeking with this one-of-a-kind deal.

Everyone wonders what it’s really like in space, but very few of us have ever had the chance to experience it firsthand. This captivating illustrated collection brings together stories from dozens of international astronauts—men and women who’ve actually been there—who have returned with accounts of the sometimes weird, often funny, and awe-inspiring sensations and realities of being in space.

“Maybe someday this book will be as quaint as books describing what it’s like to fly in an airplane.”

What’s It Like in Space? approaches a broad range of stories, from trying to describe what space smells like, falling asleep midair in the floating environment, seeing auroras from orbit, spacewalks, insects, burping, and sneezing in space (which I’d never even thought about before), and the difficulties of traveling back home and readjusting your body to the norm. The addition of the peculiar and eccentric artwork accompanying each story added immensely to the atmosphere.

Plus, the quiet allure behind each astronaut’s tale – equal parts terrifying and amusing – drove me to ponder and speculate with a childlike wonder. Speaking of which, here are some of my favorite takes on space:What_s It Like in Space? 1-- bookspoils

What_s It Like in Space? 2-- bookspoils

What_s It Like in Space? 4-- bookspoilsWhat_s It Like in Space? 3-- bookspoils

 

What_s It Like in Space? 6-- bookspoilsWhat_s It Like in Space? 5-- bookspoils

 

What_s It Like in Space? 7-- bookspoils

What_s It Like in Space? 9-- bookspoilsWhat_s It Like in Space? 8-- bookspoils

 

What_s It Like in Space? 10-- bookspoils

What_s It Like in Space? 11-- bookspoils

What_s It Like in Space? 12-- bookspoils

What_s It Like in Space? 13-- bookspoils

 

What_s It Like in Space? 14-- bookspoils

What_s It Like in Space? 15-- bookspoils

What_s It Like in Space? 17-- bookspoils

What_s It Like in Space? 16-- bookspoils


Overall, What’s It Like in Space? was a spectacular joy to experience through words. And now more than ever am I eager for more of the similar.

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying What’s It Like in Space?, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: From Far Away by Robert Munsch; Saoussan Askar

When Saoussan immigrated with her family from war-torn Lebanon, she was only seven years old. This picture book tells the story of how she had to adjust to her new home in Canada. She describes the frustration of not understanding the teacher when she started school, not knowing how to ask to go to the bathroom, and being terrified of a Halloween skeleton. This is the perfect book to help kids empathize with immigrant children whose experiences are very similar to Saoussan’s.From Far Away 6-- bookspoilsWe have here a vitally important picture book, sharing the message of inclusivity and belonging, combined with art and color pallets that are undeniable in their beauty. Count me in!

Though it’s a relatively quick read, From Far Away leaves an everlasting impression. One section in particular that had me gripped was about Saoussan’s fear of the skeletons hanging up in school for Halloween. I couldn’t stop spinning it over and over in my head.

Plus, the whole book is just very well curated, where everything, from the art to the accompanying text, flows together wonderfully.

And as always, here are some of my favorite illustrations:
From Far Away 1-- bookspoils

From Far Away 2-- bookspoils

From Far Away 3-- bookspoils

From Far Away 4-- bookspoils

From Far Away 5-- bookspoils

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: August 8th, 2017

3.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying From Far Away, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!