Book Review: Be Awesome

Hadley Freeman is one of my favourite Guardian writers - she's very acerbic in her fashion columns and often makes me laugh out loud (which causes a few funny looks in the office). So when I found out she'd written a book on feminism, I had to give it a read - not least because of its title, 'Be Awesome', which is surely something we should all aspire to be.

If you've read any of Freeman's columns in the Guardian, you'll be familiar with her sarcastic sense of humour, and this book is more of the same. Covering topics from hair removal to dating via body image and what to do when all your friends start having kids, the book presents a really rounded picture of what it's like to be a woman in the modern world. It does err a little bit on the side of rooting for singledom, which did on occasion make me feel slightly pushed out as someone who's been coupled up forever. But equally there was still lots of stuff I could identify with and plenty of moments that made me laugh out loud.

There will no doubt be an awful lot of comparisons between this book and Caitlin Moran's 'How To Be A Woman', and if Moran is like your big sister reassuring you that you can be whoever you want to be whilst always seeming ready with a hug, Freeman is much more like that friend who doles out the tough love and is brutally honest about things, but always does it in your best interests. But I actually really liked the attitude she brought to writing the book - the sense that, whilst women should do whatever they want to do, that they should only do it because they want to rather than to impress a man or to fit in with what society or the media says they should be. I particularly liked the sections on the awesome women that inspire Hadley and her dissection of various films and books - both those which portray female characters brilliantly and those which are terrible. I'm aware of how awful Sex and the City 2 is but her description of it actually made me snort with laughter on my train home!

The one thing I wish I'd done is to read it in smaller chunks, because I think it would work better as a series of small essays rather than trying to see it as a whole book as the chapters don't really flow into each other and the styles tend to hop around. Reading it over a longer period of time would also mean it would have lasted longer; it's not the longest of books and so it felt like it was over very quickly. But if you're in the market for an easy quick read that will also provide you with some food for thought, then I'd definitely recommend this - though it is a little on the expensive side.

If you fancy reading 'Be Awesome' it's £7.99 for the Kindle edition or £6.47 for the paperback on Amazon (other book shops are available).

Have you read 'Be Awesome'? What did you think of it? And are there any similar books you'd recommend? Let me know in the comments and have a great day!

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