More Writing Advice I Don’t (entirely) Agree With

am writing

Tis the season where writers crack open their notepads and crank out words on their keyboards- because Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is upon us! Well, not for me in any capacity this year, but that’s a story for another time… Either way, in solidarity, I’ve been doing some thinking about writing that I thought I’d share. There’s a helluva lot of writing advice out there- much of which I agree with- and some which I’ve vocally disagreed with in the past (see Exhibit A and Exhibit B). Today, I’m not just going for the advice that I vehemently oppose (like the time when I responded to the *shudder-inducing* advice that “there are writers and then there are readers”). Still, I do think there’s some advice which could be a bit more nuanced. Without further ado, here’s the writing advice I don’t entirely agree with and why:

moneyBooks are not art- they’re purely commercial. This is the piece of advice I’ve seen more of lately and it cuts right through my soul. Don’t get me wrong, there is a commercial aspect to every art form. And my saying books are art doesn’t mean writing can’t be improved or criticised or anything like that. But wow. I dare say if you actually believe this, you’re in the writing game for the wrong reasons. Feel free to spare the world whatever cash grab fic you’ve been writing on your phone and are hoping to foist on us unsuspecting readers- PLEASE! On that topic…

money2If you want to be a writer, write erotica because it sells– this is the only piece of advice on this list I’ve ever personally received (more than once!) and I had to include it because it’s the worst advice in the world. And also, it’s hilarious. No shade at erotica writers, you do you, but do it cos you actually want to, not cos you think you’re gonna make bank.

thinking monkeyWrite what you know– which, hello, fantasy writers can’t exactly do- unless you happen to know a dragon personally, in which case I’m very jealous, can you introduce me? 😉 The other problem is that stories shouldn’t just be purely autobiographical, as I mentioned the other day. And, as Rebecca Alasdair mentioned in her amazing post on writing advice she doesn’t follow, it really limits creativity. We can’t just be stuck in our own heads when writing, we have to explore the world a little. Sometimes that means going places in your imagination that you’ve never been before. And yes, that can mean writing things you’ve never experienced. Personally, I’ve found more sensitive writers are totally capable of doing this! (for instance, Terry Pratchett did an amazing job of getting in the head of a great ape 😉 ) All of which leads me onto…

popeyeYou need to toughen up to be a writer– generally speaking, I think it’s a good idea to toughen up and grow a spine. But… the problem I have with this advice is that you kinda need to be sensitive to be an artist. So, my version of this tough love advice would be to say: don’t be so tough that you can’t write something emotionally compelling. Similarly, I disagree with…

bad writing gigIf you’re insecure, this is not the field for you. Writers and artists are insecure (there’s that sensitivity issue again 😉). Personally, I think this makes writers more open to criticism, because if you think too highly of yourself, you won’t want to improve. More importantly, *everyone* has insecurities and I hate to think of brilliant people never sharing their work just out of fear. That’s a really sad thought, cos we’re all missing out. Bringing me onto…

shoot for the moonIt’s not possible to be the next *insert genius writer here* and no one can write like *insert famous writer here*. Okay, I agree in the sense that you should never be so derivative that you sound like another writer. HOWEVER, you never know who could be the next famous/genius writer in their own right. I mean, genius writers are evidence of this 😉 I’ve said this before, but I truly believe there’s real talent out there, striving for greatness. The implication here is you shouldn’t even bother to try. My thought is that it’s awful to put people like that off (even if we do have to deal with a bunch of pretentious wannabes searching for them 😉)

peter pan robin williams flyingWriting is hard– well I’m actually being cheeky with this one because I actually agree in the sense that it is definitely work. BUT every time I hear it I half-nod, half-shake my head, cos I feel like this one should come with a disclaimer (hey, I did say this list would be more nitpicky!). Truth is, there are days when it feels like all the gears are grinding and still nothing’s moving forward, yet there are other days when the words are gliding and new worlds are spinning on the page and I swear there’s no closer feeling to flying. Nothing compares to being in that zone. Granted it’s the soaring joy of Icarus- but I’ll take it, if only for a moment. So yeah, I would just rephrase this to writing is work, yet it’s the best kind of work, because no other work can give you superpowers! 😉

winners podiumWriting is competitive– now, this is something that could be more of a personality thing, so no judgement if you’re motivated by competition. That said, logically speaking, it’s hard to make this into a competitive sport. As much as traditionally published authors are subject to the whims of the market, for example, the fact is there’s always room for good writing and good ideas. Someone else getting published doesn’t mean you won’t be. Each writer is running to their own finish line- independent of everyone else. And I know some people will point out that you can be beaten to an idea, but *whispers* all ideas have been done before anyway, so that race is kinda run. The uniqueness you bring is usually in the telling.

writingWrite every day– well for one thing, I have a day job (and this blog), so that just isn’t possible. I do completely understand and think this is a great practice… it’s just completely impractical for most of us. I think scheduling it into your week is so important, but for some writers, who write in intense bursts, this won’t work. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you’ll get burn out (which is a bummer, but it happens). Sometimes, it’s okay to take breaks.

chill slothWrite in order that one day you won’t have to write so much– kinda coming full circle, but this attitude seems to come back to the people who are in it for the BIG PAYOUT (I feel like there are better fields than this for that, but whatever, some people really believe publishing is a giant money tree). I’m gonna be real, I don’t write to relax. That’s never been the point of it for me. And I feel like even if your ambition is to be a full-time writer, the whole point of that isn’t so that you get time off… it’s actually about aspiring to write MORE. So, yeah, if you have visions of chilling out by the pool with famous authors (as Matthew Wright wrote in a hilarious piece on this recently), maybe this isn’t the write field for you…

Oof- that was a little harsh there at times- but we got through it. What writing advice do you disagree with? Or maybe just aren’t entirely on board with? Let me know in the comments!

The Obsession with Making Writing Real

thoughts orangutan

One thing I have to make clear before I get started is that I’m not saying “realism sucks”. Every genre or style has its time and place. As much as I love fantasy, I’m open to all forms of the genre and I also adore classics/literary/contemporary fiction etc (not to mention the fact I like my historical fiction as realistic as possible). So, let’s just begin by saying yes, realism rocks just as hard as fantasy. Glad we could get that out of the way 😉

What I do mean, however, is that sometimes striving for realism takes over. While glaring errors can take you out of a story, sometimes criticism of contemporaries can get a little nitpicky (like, whether or not a particular school has a netball team or whatever). And I’ve written at length about why I’m happy to suspend my disbelief for fantasy. More recently, there’s even been a particular obsession with real experience. Which, you know, can be a problem since not every book is (or should be) an autobiography.

atticus finch quoteFor starters, writing is often about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. That’s kind of impossible if you’re never allowed to think outside your own bubble. And while I’m not saying poach anything you like, or that everyone is capable of doing this, some people really are amazing at putting themselves in the mind’s eye of someone totally unlike them (one of the best examples being Rowling’s depiction of abuse, when, as far as I know, she hasn’t experienced this herself).

The other huge problem is how subjective this can be. While one reader might give you the go ahead, another might say you got it totally wrong. This can be even more troubling when you consider the fact that even if you have the same experience, it doesn’t mean you relate to it the same way. It’s frankly horrifying to see authors attacked for writing about their own experiences- which happened to Leigh Bardugo recently over Ninth House. I’m gonna be real: I lean heavily on my own experience in my writing, so it strikes a nerve to see people lashing out at writers over this.frieda-norris-quote-sisterhood I shouldn’t have to point this out, because it is fairly obvious, but here we go: you can’t make claims about someone’s experience without knowing the individual intimately (and even then, it’s pretty rude).  In fact, I’ve had people do the “ugh you don’t know about this, so shut up!” routine to me over things I *definitely* do know about (though, of course, they don’t know that). I’d say it’s safer not to assume you know a stranger’s life story, but that’s just me 😉

What’s more, even if I’ve been critical of a book for being unrelatable, I find it really helpful to hear why other people got something out of it. Not everything can be relatable for everybody– so it’s cool if you disagree with me on something. It gives me a chance to hear another perspective.

Plus, a huge amount of this simply comes down to personal taste. That’s what I tried to get across when I wrote the post “Don’t Write X”- it’s just not possible to appeal to everyone- and that’s okay! I can accept, for instance, that some readers are into fantasy for the world building and complex systems- ergo hyper-realism is important to them. Just because it isn’t the case for me, doesn’t mean I get to rain on their parade and decide all books should be super fantastical. There’s room for both hard and soft magic systems! Similarly, I’ve heard one writer say they find it pulls them out of a contemporary if the names don’t match up to modern trends… whereas I’m all for the quirky names! Barring huge illogical inconsistencies and glaring errors, these things will always be hit or miss. It’s about finding the right readers for a particular book.

For me, books aren’t all about how precise they are; they’re about the endless possibilities they contain. And so I’m not going to obsess over the realism (especially cos even complex magic systems basically come down to *because magic* anyway 😉).

because magic.gif

So, what do you think? Is realism the be-all and end-all for you? If not, where do you draw the line? Let me know in the comments!

November Haul Thanks to @natysbookshelf

monkey haul

Well, I wasn’t planning on doing another haul post so soon after the last one, but I won Naty @ Naty’s Bookshelf giveaway and I wanted to do a post to say thank you! Her blog is *brilliant*- her reviews are always top notch, I really enjoy her weekly wrap ups the Sunday Snuggle (how cute is that name!) and she has loads of other inventive posts! Her bookish quizzes are so much fun and she even did a round up a while ago of a gazillion quizzes for bookworms. Highly recommend you all check her out!

This was such a lovely package to receive- it really made my week! Not only were there loads of beautiful looking books, Naty also included tea (which, you know, *hello British*, of course I love!), bookmarks (do you see those beauties?) and a really sweet note. Let’s get to the books…

neverworld wake

I’m especially excited for Neverworld Wake– since Naty said it’s her personal fave in her note 😀

wicked deep

I loved Wicked Deep when I read it last year and really wanted a copy- especially cos this edition is so beautiful! I’ve already lent it to my sister to read as well and she enjoyed it too.

book of hidden things (2)

And I was so keen to read Book of Hidden Things that I instantly picked it up! Happy to say, I really liked it as well- though more on that soon…

grace and fury

I’ve wanted to read Grace and Fury for a while as well.

shiver of snow and sky

Shiver of Snow and Sky looks good too.

remembered

Remembered is the only one that I hadn’t heard of, but having read the blurb now, I’m really looking forward to it.

All of which make for perfect reading for this time of year! So have you read any of these? Do you recommend any of them? Let me know in the comments!

Instagram Announcement!

Hi all! This is just a quick post today and yet I’m all kinds of nervous. As I mentioned in my Mid Year Resolutions post, I’ve been trying to do a bit more art lately, so I was considering starting Instagram for that annnd it’s only taken me three months to get on and do that 😉 At the mo, I’m just starting to share a mixture of old pieces and newer drawings. I’d say it should be a “pleasant” place to be- but when you see my Halloween theme for this month, you might disagree 😉

Without further ado, I now pronounce the Orangutan Gallery open…

orangutan gallery.png

I’m looking to follow some bookstagram accounts as well so hit me up!

The I Dare You Tag

orangutan tag 2

Phew- I feel like I’ve been pretty daring this week, so I thought I’d chill out… by doing the dare you tag 😉 Seems quite appropriate now we’re in the heart of the *SCARY SEASON*. Thank you so much to the marvellous Mary Drover for tagging me to do this- she’s got such a fascinating blog, with so much on writing, books, yoga, food and so much more! You’d be mad not to check it out!

Now, you’ve done that, let’s get into the tag!

(warning, may contain controversial opinions…)

What book has been on your shelf the longest?

I have the same answer as Mary for this, cos hello, I’m a millennial:

my harry potters

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

At the time of writing this post, I’m currently reading the Dispel Illusion (so far soo not been able to catch my breath!!), just read Bone Witch (eh s’alright) and up next is p-r-o-b-a-b-l-y Small Spaces… or Vanishing Stair… or maybe something else equally Halloweeny (what? You wanted an actual answer? I’m a mood reader!)

What book did everyone like, but you hated?

Okay, I’ve got a lot of these, so I’m gonna list a few like Mary did. Time to piss everyone off I guess…

  1. The Fault in Our Stars– I’ve made no secret of the fact I didn’t like this book. For me, the narrative was a flatline of continuous despair and the pretentious prose felt absurd. Also, I will never think the callous use of Anne Frank was okay, okay?
  2. It Ends with Us– on a completely different note, here’s one I’ve never talked about before, but… oof this one still hurts. Lots of people love this book because of the way it boldly handled the sensitive subject matter, and I can respect that, BUT I hated it for its soapy, simplified, inauthentic approach.
  3. The Bronze Horseman– ugh to the cheating, ugh to the gross love interest and ugh to the dishcloth protagonist. Ugh ugh ugh.

I’ve actually realised I have *a lot* more of these. Maybe I’ll do a follow up post if I’m feeling brave…

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

ulysses joyce

Well, I kind of know my reading tastes by now and I figure it’s suuuuper unlikely I’ll want to attempt another steam of consciousness novel. I’ve never finished a Virginia Woolf book or ploughed through Joyce’s Ulysses– and I probably never will. That didn’t stop me from downloading all the free ebook versions though….

What book are you saving for retirement?

Gosh, I don’t know, maybe some of the above? I have a number of challenging books on my tbr as well- such as the works of Jung, Dante’s Inferno, Swann’s Way etc- but I like to think I’ll get to them before I retire 😉

Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?

Wait till the end! What do you take me for?! I’m not some uncivilised, well, ape.

Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

Oh, I quite enjoy them. Maybe I’m sappy, but I find so many of them written with warmth and charm and lovely expressions of gratitude! (okay, yes, I’m very sappy)

Which book character would you switch places with?

emma movie

I’m gonna go with Austen’s Emma, cos has a lovely lifestyle and also she gets Knightley- what more could a girl desire?

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (place, time, person?)

Hmm I think many books have the power to transport you back in time and place.

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Ahhh this is embarrassing. I once soaked my school library copy of Little Women (by accident!) so rather than giving back the damaged version, I pretended I’d lost it and paid to replace it. I think I still have the mouldy and kinda disgusting version somewhere in storage.

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

woke

Since it’s nearly Halloween and I apparently want to scare people off, I’ll go with Woke– which I gave to my brother for his birthday and just wrote a (satirical) review for.

Which book has been with you most places?

songs innocence large

Okay, time for a weird confession (that I’ve probably made before 😉) I sometimes like to take my copy of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience around with me like a talisman. Partly cos it’s small, partly cos it’s pretty, mostly cos even if I have my phone/kindle I need at least one physical book with me at all times.

Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

This is probably the hardest question! The only things I really remember hating from school was the contemporary poetry- most of which I still hate. I have, however, developed a deep respect for Seamus Heaney after reading his terrific translation of Beowulf recently. Sooo don’t know if that counts as an answer, but moving on…

Used or brand new?

I get most of my books used, but would probably prefer to get them new, cos if I could shower authors/publishers/booksellers with wealth, I would.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

da vinci code

Unfortunately, yes. The Da Vinci Code was one of my first (non classic) adult books. Suffice to say I wasn’t impressed and it took me many, many years to go back to adult books after that.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

stardust

A few times. I not-so-secretly prefer the Stardust movie, for instance (though the book is still good!)

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

feast hogwarts great hall

Of course! I get hungry at just the mention of food- in fact this question has just made me so hungry I can’t think of an answer right now! Maybe the extremely obvious answer Harry Potter– which made me wish Hogwarts was real all the more! Rainbow Rowell is pretty good at making me hungry too. As is Jacqueline Wilson.

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Two of my friends, who both vigorously recommended Discworld to me- obviously they earned my eternal trust with that tip 😉

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

the martian

The first one that springs to mind is the Martian- which was a surprisingly delightful read- especially for a newbie to the sci fi genre like me!

That was fun, now I dare: No Reads too Great, Jennifer, Mim Inkling, Embuhleeliest, Meghan, Corner of Laura, Rivermoose Reads, Journey into Books, Zezee and Naty

So have I shocked any of you with my opinions?! (probably not, if you’ve stuck around this long, you’ll know I’ve said worse  😉  Really curious though, do you have any shocking opinions on books everyone loves, but you hate? I dare you to let me know in the comments!

All the *WARNINGS*!!!

thoughts orangutan

Once upon a time, back in my more edgy days, I drafted a post called “triggered by trigger warnings”. The reason I never posted that BEAST-OF-A-POST was because it ended up being 15,000 words of research and incoherent ramblings… so it’s probably for the best that I lost that post when my old laptop, the Mad Hatter, passed away in February (#RIP). Besides, since I worked on that post there’s been even more discussion in the scientific community on the topic- making this more fortuitous timing to have a chat about it. Don’t worry though, this post won’t be 15,000 words 😉

cracks knuckles batmanOkay *cracks knuckles* before we get started, I know this is going to be a sensitive topic for some people, so I may as well begin with a little self-defence and state for the record: I’m not going to get personal. I’m certainly not writing this post for any nefarious purposes. And I would ask those who disagree with what I have to say not to assume/attack/jump to conclusions about me ta-very-much… except that’d likely be a pointless request, since most people don’t need to be told not to be dicks and the people that do need it will likely ignore the request anyway 😉

So, we’re already at an impasse, where all I can say is that I understand the perspective of those who use trigger warnings and can sympathise with their intentions. Arguments range from protecting children from inappropriate books to helping those with PTSD/mental health issues avoid topics they don’t want to read. Personally, I believe that all readers should be able to self-censor, or to use a more common term CHOOSE, what they read. That’s a huge part of why we review books in the first place. you chooseAnd I will say, so we’re clear, if you want to put trigger warnings in your reviews, that’s entirely your decision. Reviewers should feel free to review in whichever way they see fit. But I do think there should be more discussion around this, since there are reasons bloggers like me do not use them. And, spoiler alert, it’s not cos we’re evil 😉

The main issue that I’ve always had with the use of trigger warnings is the consensus from a large swathe of the scientific community that trigger warnings are not only ineffective, they’re also counterproductive. Most recently, a study by Harvard PHD student Payton Jones, linked below, discovered that trigger warnings increased anxiety for those with severe PTSD. His findings were that trigger warnings “countertherapeutically reinforce survivors’ view of their trauma as central to their identity.” Other trauma psychologists, such as Metin Basoglu, previously stated “Most trauma survivors avoid situations that remind them of the experience. Avoidance means helplessness and helplessness means depression. That’s not good. Exposure to trauma reminders provides an opportunity to gain control over them.” Regardless of whether an individual can seek help or not, I would question whether it is wise to adopt a practice which can worsen an individual’s symptoms. This is not as cut and dry an issue as many are led to believe.

Sticking to the topic of mental health, I believe there is an alternative way to approach the issue. Logically speaking, it’s no wonder that trigger warnings can be counterproductive. They prime the reader for an adverse reaction. Starkly putting the words “trigger warning: rape” is far more shocking than explaining gently in the review that “there are sensitive topics in the book, such as sexual assault, so readers who don’t want to read this content may want to bear that in mind”. This is aside from the fact choosing the correct warnings in the first place is tricky if not nigh on impossible (I am not joking when I say that I’ve met a person with an intense fear of buttons for instance). Rather than picking out from a carefully cultivated list, readers are usually better at determining for themselves where the line might be. A good review will always facilitate that, letting you know important aspects of the content.

Here’s where the other issues come in. Chiefly, the spoiler issue… and yes this is an issue for a lot of readers. Not everyone, obviously- many people don’t care about spoilers and some even (*shock horror*) flip to the end of a book before they start to find out how it turns out! Yet, even for those who want to avoid certain topics in books, reading trigger warnings is a no-go because they are laden with spoilers. Given that people put in *every* detail into the warning section, from plot twists to endings, it is unsurprising not everyone wants to know the entire journey in advance. Thus, some reviewers prefer to explain any content issues in the body of the review- which most reviewers endeavour to do tactfully and in depth. This is the *purpose* of a review after all. I understand the desire to give people the information quickly- which is why trigger warnings are so popular in the age of immediacy- yet the words without context aren’t just spoilery. They can actually have other consequences for a book.

Think for a moment what the label “racism” does to your preconceptions of a book. Now if I tell you that trigger warning can be applied from To Kill a Mockingbird to The Invisible Man to Gone with the Wind to Huckleberry Finn, it should raise alarm bells- because these are v-e-r-y different books. Out of context, the word “racist” is off-putting- which is why a full review, with examples, explanations and in-depth explorations, is so important. Just sticking a label on a book is unhelpful if we actually want to examine the issues it contains- especially if its critiquing said issues. I’d argue it’s potentially censorious, except that labels like these have already been used to slam cancelled books. In fact, people often aren’t even allowed to have this conversation without getting cancelled (anecdotally, I saw Erika Sanchez getting serious blowback on twitter for daring to have an opinion on this). And it’s no secret that “triggering books” have been used widely to self-censor at universities (which, given the role of academic institutions, is rather different to self-censoring when reading for pleasure).

All of this- combined with the fiery-career-ending conversations around this topic- gets in the way of free and open debate. And that is what I am most concerned about. We need to have real conversations, not resort to “here’s what this book is about in 140 characters or less!” Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the quickfire culture is right- but personally I’d rather take my time figuring things out.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Before I go, I’d like to share a couple of fantastic posts from other bloggers having this conversation and presenting their own views:

Drew @The Tattooed Book Geek https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/lets-talk-trigger-warnings-bookblogger-bookbloggers-blogger-bloggers-blogpost

Confessions of a YA Reader https://confessionsofayareader.wordpress.com/2019/07/14/are-we-policing-books-too-hard-or-not-enough-are-we-helping-books-get-banned-controversial-book-discussion-post-massive-warning-for-triggers-and-hot-topics-throughout-the-whole-blog-post-do/

And more recent research that I’ve done:

https://osf.io/axn6z/

https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2018-03-15/do-trigger-warnings-on-tv-do-more-harm-than-good/

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13462

https://slate.com/technology/2019/07/trigger-warnings-research-shows-they-dont-work-might-hurt.html

https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/12/trigger-warnings-from-the-feminist-blogosphere-to-shonda-rhimes-in-2013.html

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/03/study-trigger-warnings-are-basically-useless-even-if-youve-been-through-trauma/

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/03/do-trigger-warnings-work/585871/

https://themedium.ca/features/going-too-far-with-trigger-warnings/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11106670/Trigger-warnings-more-harm-than-good.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/20/trigger-warnings-college-campus-books

Sooo time to turn it over to you- am I going to hell in a handbasket for my opinions here? Do you agree or disagree with my stance on this? Let me know in the comments!

Woke by @TitaniaMcGrath is the most important book of our time

wokeWhat a STUNNING and BRAVE and MAGNIFICENT creature Titania McGrath is. It is an absolute pleasure to bask in her tweets that liberate us from reality and hear to her shrieking *ahem* spoken word poetry. We are all blessed to breathe the same air as her (except that we probably shouldn’t do that cos that is stealing air from minorities). We, the undeserving, are fortunate to merely be able to listen to this goddess of progressivism preaching how much better she is than us. Her wisdom is undeniable.

“It is no exaggeration to say I would rather be living in a Soviet gulag than a capitalist country”

Of course, it can come as no surprise that Titania experienced *horrendous* abuse from an early age, being brought up by wealthy parents and privately educated (the horror, the horror!). Worse still, she recently faced a twitter ban by the evil Nazi capitalist overlords over in Silicone Valley! I now thank my lucky stars that I have never experienced such inhumane treatment!

“That’s the wonderful thing about identity politics: you never have to explain yourself, or even develop your thoughts into what right-wingers call a “coherent argument””

Are we not all oppressed though? Titania teaches us that anything can be a form of oppression if shouted about loudly enough. I for one would love to share my invisible disability of extreme laziness but I’m afraid I’d have to get out of bed early to do that (#slovenlypride). But really, I recognise that my biggest obstacle in life comes from being a woman (obviously) and that even my cartoon depictions of myself are oppressed by the patriarchy (obviously) since no one recognises I’m a woman unless I put on a dress!

orangutan in dress

“When women are valued more than men, then and only then will we have achieved equality.”

Althoughhhh when I say everyone is oppressed, I’m not really talking about everyone. Straight white men don’t count. Even if they’re living in a dumpster, they have privilege. I mean, that goes without saying. I actually bought a copy of this book for my brother’s birthday because he needs to feel SHAME for being born male and having the audacity to stay that way. Maybe he’ll learn his lesson from our Great and Glorious Saviour, Titania McGrath! And on that note, given that I don’t have the power to award this book a Nobel Prize, I shall have to give it the equally prestigious award of 5/5 bananas:

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

Okay, I think I might have blown my cover by engaging in the imaginary free market with that endowment 😉 Of course, *disclaimer time*, this book and my review were satire. I’m afraid I must break character or you’ll all think I’ve gone totally bananas. Surprising as it may be, Titania McGrath is a fictional character invented by the hilarious Andrew Doyle. Having said that, if you’re worried about authenticity, this was replete with plenty of bonkers things real-live-people have actually said. Woke was an amazing antidote to some of the barmy media out there- I was belly laughing and chuckling throughout- so job well done! (and yes, I did actually buy this for my brother’s birthday and he thought it was brilliant too!)

Alright, did I fool you? Did you think I’d lost my marbles? Do you think you’ll pick this up? Let me know in the comments!