Advance Reader Copies included. They are marked with an *. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Following on from yesterday’s Recent Reads post, here is the one with the advance reader copies (ARCs) I should have reviewed months ago when they were actually new releases.
No Virgin by Anne Cassidy*
Stacey Woods was raped. She doesn’t want to report it to the police despite her friend Patrice encouraging her to do so. As a compromise, Patrice asks Stacey to write everything down. She can decide what to do with it afterwards. This is Stacey’s account of what happened to her.
No Virgin* is an unflinching exploration of the aftermath of sexual assault. It is sensitively told and subject wise it is an important read. However, for me, there was a disconnection between the characters and the plot. Everything felt one step removed. This may be the author’s intention. If so, it didn’t work for me. The detachment took me out of the novel on multiple occasions and left me feeling underwhelmed.
Homegoing by Yaa Gysai*
Beginning in 18th-century Ghana, we follow the lives of half sisters Effia and Esi. One marries a slave trader, while the other is sold into slavery. With each chapter we learn what happens to future generations of their families. We see that no-one is untouched by slavery and the repercussions that are felt to this day.
The jumps in time took some getting used to, but that aside Homegoing* is an unputdownable and necessary read.
Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen*
Here We Are* is for the teenagers in your life. It is for emerging feminists, regardless of age. It’s for feminists who want to learn more about intersectionality.
Featuring writers of colour, LGBTQ+ writers, disabled writers, writers from different religions and writers from different socio-economic backgrounds, Here We Are explores what it means to be a feminist when gender isn’t the only issue at play. Feminism often means different things to different people, but intersectionality is vital to making it accessible to as many people as possible.
This anthology of essays, comics, interviews, illustrations, reading lists and playlists is educational, smart and funny without talking down to the younger audience it is aimed at.
Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran*
This collection of Moran’s articles, columns and essays covers everything from her love of David Bowie and her crush on Benedict Cumberbatch to more serious issues including, but not limited to, feminism, terrorism and the NHS.
Enjoyable enough if you’re already a Caitlin Moran fan. I can’t imagine you’ll get much from it otherwise.
Autumn by Ali Smith*
How to describe Autumn*? The easy answer is that it’s the story of a friendship between a woman and her elderly neighbour. But the easy answer doesn’t do it justice. Autumn* is an exploration of friendship, love, ageing, identity, art, dying, and the Brexit result. The story jumps between the present day, to how Elisabeth and Daniel met when she was a child and decided to interview him for a school project, to Daniel’s past.
Smith’s prose is stilted, yet poetic. A mess of contradictions much like the immediate aftermath of Brexit itself. I look forward to Winter, Spring and Summer.
Teenage Suicide Notes: An Ethnography of Self-Harm by Terry Williams*
Best described as a series of case studies Teenage Suicide Notes* sees, sociologist, Terry Williams explore the writings of teens who have expressed suicidal ideation. For many these thoughts are recurring. Some have attempted suicide. Some have tried more than once. Some have succeeded, in which case Williams spoke to friends and family. What links them all is their use of journaling and letter writing. It is through this writing that Williams hopes to gain a better understanding of the reasons why so many young people engage in self harm.
The experiences and interviews in this book took place in the 90s. While the Goth scene gets a lot of attention and some judgement from Williams, social media and the internet in general is all but absent which makes Teenage Suicide Notes* feel dated.