Welcome to my More than a woman book review.

I read Caitlin Moran’s How to be a woman a few years ago after turning up to feminist writing at quite a late stage (it actually came out in 2011). I’d mainly been into fiction before that and it blew my mind. Reading about a woman talking about what it actually felt like to be a woman, and all the work that takes was just so refreshing. Caitlin was in her 30s at the time she wrote that book and I’d just turned 30 when I read it, so it really spoke to me.

What’s More than a woman about?

In More than a woman Caitlin is now in her mid 40s and she talks about what it is to be middle aged. It seems we have so many of our own problems in our earlier years, and then in your middle years you take on everyone else’s too. This isn’t something I’d thought about much before, but it’s so true. Women do take on everyone else’s problems and make sure that everything in the household runs smoothly. And it’s usually something that isn’t noticed or appreciated as it should be.

The book covers issues like never ending to do lists (as spoken about recently by Glennon Doyle on her podcast), being a mother, and marriage. The “typical” things you’d expect to see in a book about women I guess. Also there are chapters about women caring, either for children or aging parents which is growing more and more as the years go by- predominately it is women who are the care givers. The book also has the expected feminist issues such as beauty, owning the word vulva, and wanting change. So whether you come to this book after the first (How to be a woman) wanting an update on the same items, or completely fresh, having not read the first, you’ll find something here to grab your attention.

What’s the structure?

The book is written around a day with each chapter representing an hour in the day. This is a clever structure as there are certain things you think about and plan out in your day at the same times. Especially if you’re the main planner and organiser in your household. We all have things that turn up in the small hours to haunt us, and they’re usually repeat offenders.

What are the highlights?

There were two things that really stood out for me in the book in particular. The first was where Caitlin talks us through her daughters eating disorder. I’ve read many books about eating disorders told from the sufferers perspective so it was really interesting to read it from the parents point of view. The fear and the helplessness comes across so well, and also the undeniable truth that this is an epidemic in our country. Young people’s mental health issues are so frequent now in the UK that our mental health services just cannot keep up to help them all. Caitlin points this out so well without it turning into a tirade about health services. Instead she’s just sad that her daughter and so many others like her have to suffer for so long before getting the help that they need. This section is bound to touch anyone who reads it and I can imagine it being a real help to other parents going through something similar, just trying their best to be there for their child.

The other chapter that really stuck out for me was “What about the men?”. Last year the argument against feminism that not all men are evil was palpable in the UK. This section of the book really tackles the argument against feminism in a fresh and clear way. Feminism isn’t about putting men down, and it isn’t working against them. Feminism works for everyone, and women recognise that men have a hard time at the moment as women’s lives over the last hundred years have changed unbelievably, whereas men’s haven’t really. Trying to follow an archaic blueprint that doesn’t suit the modern world anymore is not easy. But feminism isn’t a hindrance to male evolution, it’s in support of it. I would urge everyone just to read this chapter if nothing else to really understand that feminism isn’t against men. To be able to say you’re a feminist confidently comes from being able to argue for it, and this will definitely help you do that.

Recommend More than a woman?

Overall the book is exactly what you’d expect from Caitlin Moran- a funny, fresh take on serious issues. Not an easy thing to do but it seems to be effortless and natural from her. It’s particularly interesting where she talks about things she spoke about in the first book that she’s now changed her opinion on. It’s a brave writer who can say- I was wrong, forget everything I said. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone- regardless of gender or age. It’s important that we read things that make us think and make us understand each other.

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