Last week, I read a book that I really enjoyed, even though the title is somewhat unfortunate. It is To Hell with All That by Caitlin Flanagan. I'll review it in a moment but humour me with a little sidetrack.
Rebecca was asking for some booklists last week. As I was reading the Flanagan book, it made me think of other books about women's issues, most of them written from a non-Christian perspective, that critique what we now see to be the results of the feminist movement. I decided to make a list of these books I've read. I hope that some of my readers will enjoy this list.
The first one is the Flanagan book. I enjoyed reading this. It struck me as more of a collection of essays than a cohesive book. Because she is a journalist, I wondered if perhaps she had written the essays for magazines and then put them together into a book. The final essay does draw them all together.
Because it is more of a series of essays, it is somewhat difficult to tell what her perspective is. There were some seeming contradictions. She seems to advocate being a stay-at-home mom, but had a nanny for the first 3 years of her twins' lives. She recognizes the dangers of our children running our lives through their constant activities but still puts her own children in many different activities. Perhaps the subtitle of the book says it all: "Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife".
Flanagan has a gift for just the right word or phrase. I laughed out loud many times throughout the book and appreciate her wit. I would recommend this book as a way to discuss the issues that do face many women today. In fact, I think I might even recommend it for our local library book club - it should certainly lead to some interesting discussion!
Danielle Crittenden is one of my favourite authors. I wish she would write more books! Amanda brightathome (use the @ sign for "at" if you are looking it up) (2003) is a novel about a woman who ends up making some different choices about her life and is a commentary on how feminism has failed our society. What was most interesting, and sad, about the book, is how the main character reflects on what her mother knew and didn't teach her.
What Our Mothers didn't Tell Us: why Happiness Eludes the modern woman (1999) is the non-fiction version of Amanda bright@home. I thought that Crittenden identified very accurately the problems with feminism and what the feminist movement has led to. Considering that she is a non-Christian writer (as far as I know), she is devastatingly accurate about both the problems and comes close to the solution, albeit without the Christian perspective. I wish that more Christian women would read books like this and recognize how they have fallen into the world's trap.
I Don't Know How She Does it is another novel about the dilemma of the working mother. As with many of these books, there is still an uncertainty about what the outcome of choosing something different for a wife and mother will be. This one, from what I remember, is more edgy and may contain language that not everyone will be comfortable with.
Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit was a provocative read. It's interesting to me that when I just entered the word "modesty" in the library catalogue search, there were only 6 entries that would contain that word. I'm not sure if it means anything but I think it's interesting that it's not even a word used very often in book titles. I seem to recall that Shalit is a Jewish writer and she examines the pressure put on young women not only to be immodest but to behave in ways that are definitely not modest. She considers the "3rd Wave" of feminism and how it is impacting the young women of this generation, especially those at colleges and universities.
Real Sex: the Naked Truth about Chastity by Lauren Winner is in a slightly different category but I think is worthwhile reading for Christian women (and men) who want to consider different perspectives about sexual matters. Although this book is not blatantly Christian, (I believe there is some reference to Christianity), it is a call to thinking through what sex should really mean and reasons to say no.
I think there were others I have read over the years but I'll have to look back over my very sketchy book journal and see if I can find some other titles. Readers are welcome to comment!