I started listening to Good and Mad in early May and the world was a different place then. I was angry for a lot of reasons, and as always, Donald Trump was one of the causes for just about each and every reason. I’ve been vocal about my beliefs and call for change probably since college, but it was Trump’s election that brought me, like many women (particularly white women, particularly the white women who didn’t vote for him), out from behind my keyboard. I attended the first two Women’s Marches, and I now frequently write to my representatives. (I will note that at this point I have not been able to attend a BLM protest in the wake of recent events, but it is a cause I support and if protests are still underway when I return to NYC post-pandemic, I will participate. I’m on a major tangent here but if Good and Mad taught me anything, it’s that I was late to the game and that I must keep fighting.)
ANYWAY, Good and Mad was recommended in a webinar I was listening to, so I downloaded it through my library app. It was a really empowering read (slash, listen) that I think all women – and those who love and (at the very least, claim to) support them – should listen to.
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The summary, from Amazon:
From Rebecca Traister, the New York Times best-selling author of All the Single Ladies – whom Anne Lamott called “the most brilliant voice on feminism in this country” – comes a vital, incisive exploration into the transformative power of female anger and its ability to transcend into a political movement.
In the year 2018, it seems as if women’s anger has suddenly erupted into the public conversation. But long before Pantsuit Nation, before the Women’s March, and before the #MeToo movement, women’s anger was not only politically catalytic – but politically problematic. The story of female fury and its cultural significance demonstrates the long history of bitter resentment that has enshrouded women’s slow rise to political power in America, as well as the ways that anger is received when it comes from women as opposed to when it comes from men.
With eloquence and fervor, Rebecca tracks the history of female anger as political fuel – from suffragettes chaining themselves to the White House to office workers vacating their buildings after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Here Traister explores women’s anger at both men and other women; anger between ideological allies and foes; the varied ways anger is perceived based on its owner; as well as the history of caricaturing and delegitimizing female anger; and the way women’s collective fury has become transformative political fuel – as is most certainly occurring today. She deconstructs society’s (and the media’s) condemnation of female emotion (notably, rage) and the impact of their resulting repercussions.
Highlighting a double standard perpetuated against women by all sexes, and its disastrous, stultifying effect, Traister’s latest is timely and crucial. It offers a glimpse into the galvanizing force of women’s collective anger, which, when harnessed, can change history.
I have to admit, I took a step away from this one for a bit. My mind was whirling from everything going on in this world, and I felt selfish for listening to a book about the Women’s Movement. However, I reminded myself that this book is not about the Women’s Movement – it’s about every movement women have been involved in. That was enough to make me pick my audiobook back up, and I do not regret the decision. It empowered me even further during this time.
The audiobook is narrated by the author, who does an exceptional job. Her passion for the subject is evident. She interviewed so many women during the process of writing Good and Mad. Hearing these exceptional women talk about their frustrations and ire after Trump’s election was so relatable and empowering.
I also loved that Traister talked about the leadership of WOC throughout so many movements. White women as a group were late to the game, and yet they are reflected so often in history.
I am finding myself so angry during this time, and even in conversations with loved ones I can tell that it bothers them. When I find another woman who is enraged, I feel heard, understood, and stronger for it. This was a very empowering read – 5 stars.
An empowering read, though I had to take a break from it at times with everything going on. The audio book was a pleasure to listen to.
P.S. Do you like audiobooks as much as I do? If so, you already have an Audible membership. But if your friend’s birthday is coming up, why not consider giving them the gift of Audible? Check out Audible Gift Memberships to do just that – or send the link to your someone looking for the perfect gift for you!