Book Review: Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu

Book Review: Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu

 

Meet Viv, she’s a quiet 16-year-old who doesn’t break the rules. She works hard, hangs out with her friends and is the perfect daughter, the opposite of her mother as a teenager. Viv’s Mum was a Riot Grrl in the 1990s, all about Feminism and ‘zines, rebellion and riots. Nobody expects Viv to follow in her footsteps until she gets pushed a little too far.

Sick of the sexism in her high school, dress checks, disgusting football players and the expectation of women, Viv decides to start a quiet revolution. Taking a leaf from her Mum’s book Viv starts Moxie, a zine for the girls at her high school. As she anonymously writes and distributes the zine, things heat up. Can one ‘zine make any difference?

Well, this book. This book, what can I say? This is a rebellion in a couple of hundred pages. I finished this, created a playlist of kick-ass women and started planning the reboot of my Feminist Friday series. That’s the impact this book had.

I loved the fact that the author didn’t make the challenge easy either. She looks at the reputation feminism has, the feelings of being overwhelmed, having to try and convince people that Feminism is a good thing. She does it incredibly well and I loved all the Riot Grrl references and the fact that Bikini Kill was mentioned (listen to them here).

I will say, the only thing I didn’t enjoy about this novel and one of the reasons it didn’t get the full 5 stars was the romance. I just felt like it wasn’t needed and it made things a little too cutesy? Obviously, I know people did love it and it was good to see a male feminist but it just seemed a little too perfect timing to me.

Overall I gave this an amazing 4.5 stars! This was a breath of fresh air and while it took a little while to grow on me, once it did it was amazing. This is the kind of book that can inspire, that can make people realise that they have power in their voices. That feminism is still here, it’s still relevant and important. More than that it shows young women as saving themselves and that’s important.

Book Review: Riot Days – Maria Alyokhina

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In 2012 a group calling themselves Pussy Riot staged a protest ,called ‘Punk Prayer’, against Putin and the Russian government. Following their protest  the women were forced to go on the run from the law. Maria, called Masha in the memoir, is one member who gets caught and sent to prison for her ‘crimes’, this is her story.

The story of Pussy Riot hit headlines worldwide, women put in prison simply for protesting. Going into this memoir I didn’t know what to expect, I’d followed the story with interest but wondered what had happened to the women. This memoir explores the reasons behind the protest and what many people forget, the humans who lived it.

The book is set out in a fragmented style, almost as if it were a diary. That said it can make it incredibly hard to read. There were times when the book jumps between time frames and situations, which caused a lot of confusion while reading and meant that I often lost concentration while reading. I also think there was an issue with the translation, some things didn’t come across clearly, leaving me to guess what the author meant.

This is an important book to read, there is a lot we don’t know a lot about what happens to political prisoners. With Masha’s determination and status within her prisons she was able to make some changes to the way women were treated in prison. She was able to give them some basic human rights, many of which they are denied.

It is a fascinating look at the reasons behind the movement, however, there were points where I felt too distant from Masha, I didn’t feel like I knew her as a person. She mentions a son at the beginning but he’s hardly mentioned for the rest of the book, I wanted to know more about her life, her family and who she was outside Pussy Riot.

I gave Riot Days 3 stars. While I enjoyed it and thought that it was an interesting look at the life of a political prisoner and what lead her there. That said, there were issues with the way translations came across and the format made it incredibly difficult to follow.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this review copy.