Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollinsUK, Harper Fiction, and Cecelia Ahern for the chance to read and review this book.
This book of 30 short stories starts with the Epigraph: “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore” by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton. I expected that sentence to set the tone for this book but it got off to a slow, rather than a roaring, start.
Having never read a book of short stories I didn’t really know what to expect but I was excited to read this book as I’ve been a big fan of Cecelia Ahern’s work ever since reading P.S I Love You many years ago. I knew this book was not in her usual style and admittedly I found the way some of the stories were written a little difficult to get to grips with at first.
This is a book of metaphors; all the stories have a physical context to how each woman feels about herself or her life. They all have a title that begins with ‘The Woman Who..’ and finish with things such as ‘…Slowly Disappeared’, ‘..Forgot Her Name’ and ‘…Was A Feather Brain’. The stories were well written, if sometimes a bit odd. I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this book at first but as I went on I found myself glad I’d persevered.
The stories cover a wide range of subjects from reproductive rights, transgender rights and acceptance, obsession with self, racism, sexism, confidence, and unhappy marriages. I suppose you could call this a feminist book but I think that undermines the topics covered and that while it is a book about women, it’s not just about women’s rights, it’s a book about humans and their rights.
My personal favourite stories were ‘The Woman Who Wore Her Heart On Her Sleeve’, ‘The Woman Who Grew Wings’,‘The Woman Who Walked In Her Husband’s Shoes’, ‘The Woman Who Blew Away’ and ‘The Woman Who Wore Pink’. Some of the stories made me laugh, some were emotional, some perplexing and some heartbreaking. The subject matters were a good social commentary and I think that while I prefer the author’s usual style, she has written about important issues in an inventive and interesting way.
I would recommend this book and having short stories means it is one you can pick up at any time and enjoy as much or as little as you are able. I would say don’t stop reading if you find you aren’t sure what to make of it at first. This book is a grower and is worth taking the time to read from beginning to end.
Out November 1st.