In January 2016, Emma Watson decided that she wanted to start a feminist book club. I really respect Emma Watson and was really excited when I saw that such a smart woman like her would be starting a book club that I could be a part of. In addition to that, I knew that her selections would be books that I would not pick up on my own so this would be a great way to challenge myself and read books outside of my comfort zone.
The first book she chose for her book club was My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. I think that for these Our Shared Shelf posts, I’m not going to put a first impression. I’m predicting a lot of them would be “I don’t know this person” or “I would not have picked this up by myself.” So instead, I’m just going to share what I thought of the book.
Published Year: 2015
Publisher: Random House
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and one of the most inspiring leaders in the world—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality. This is the story at the heart of My Life on the Road.
What I thought
This book could be absolutely life changing; it has that kind of quiet power. It is one of those books that I wish we could require everybody in the world to read. While I think it would be beneficial for women, I think it would be even more beneficial for men to read. There are some really interesting stories and I think it does a great job at explaining feminism in a way that isn’t typically shared.
I will admit that I tend to tune out the news and I was never interested in history as a child, so I am kind of ignorant when it comes to lesser known (but still well-known and important) figures in history and politics. I also do not have any interest in politics, so I will be the first to tell you this is not a subject I am knowledgeable about. So, I had no idea who Gloria Steinem was. None. And I will now admit, after reading this book, that I am ashamed of myself.
Gloria Steinem is such a core factor of the women’s movement, past and present, and I think it’s sad that I never heard of her or knew who she was. I was a little worried that this book was going to be very preachy and anti-male but it definitely isn’t. It was so fascinating to not only be educated about who she is but to hear a lot of her stories about her life.
As a writer, this autobiography is obviously written as well as you would expect. I think my favorite thing was how she would write about different things she did (like talking on college campuses) and share some history about how she felt about the talks and different people that she traveled with. Then she would have a series of actual stories and interactions from her speeches. These were my favorite parts to read and I loved that she included her commentary about how those moments made her feel.
This book is so inspiring and so positive that I can’t praise it enough. I am honestly surprised by how much I feel like I learned from this book. I wish this has been out when I was younger and that I had been forced to read it. While I feel as though I have feminist values at heart I have never been one to act. This book makes me want to act and that is saying a lot.
This was such a great start to the book club! I’m really looking forward to reading more and I really hope that it continues!