Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Book Review: Diary of a Confused Feminist by Kate Weston

(Slightly more spoilery than most of mine, just as a heads-up)


Diary of a Confused Feminist is about Kat, who's aiming to be a real feminist, get together with Hot Josh (unless wanting that makes her not a real feminist?) and become a journalist. But she seems to have a knack for getting into embarrassing incidents, her two best friends get boyfriends while she's still trying to seal the deal with Josh, Terrible Trudy is always furious with her and she can't shake the feeling she's not good enough for... well, all of this.

I was approved on NetGalley for this (Thanks, BKMRK!) and picked it up without knowing more than the very basics about it. I was expecting something lighter, given Kate Weston's past as a stand-up comedian, but a lot of this is dealing with heavy topics - in particular Kat's anxiety. I was REALLY impressed with the way Kat's mental health issues are dealt with here. Her friends and family are behind her, she gets a fab therapist, and there's a couple of relatively detailed scenes set when she's doing CBT. These felt really realistic and well-written; it's definitely up there with Am I Normal Yet? and The Rest Of Us Just Live Here as a book I'd highly recommend people read to get an idea of what people with anxiety and depression face. I also really liked most of the relationships in the book - Kat's three-way friendship feels realistic, perhaps especially when it's going through problems, while her gay best friend is lovely and her parents like to tease their children but are incredibly supportive once they find out about how badly Kat is struggling. I also thought the relationship she has with her younger brother, who annoys her, felt very real. My only major gripe is that Trudy feels like a very one-dimensional character, for nearly the entire book - she's horrifically awful, and while this does get Kat thinking about if it's okay to dislike another girl if they're mean to you, she was just TOO nasty for me to like the portrayal much.

Kat's struggles with trying to be a really good feminist, though, are very well-portrayed and thought-provoking, and I love the references to people who inspire her - both modern writers and historical figures. It's also cool to see lots of discussions of periods and feminine hygiene products (and I especially liked the range of responses from the various guys in how mature they were in their reactions here.)

Having said early on that it deals with some tough stuff, I should point out that there is a lot of humour running through it as well, going right from the start as the girls have an abortive event to show their support for #TimesUp, and building to a hilarious climax which had me laughing out loud. This is a definite recommendation and I'm hoping for more books from Kate Weston after this strong debut.

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