As if by magic, I have finished reading the nineteenth book of this year, Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. My New Year’s Resolution was to read fifty-two books this year and, in turn, document it over on my Goodreads account. With a new job giving me evenings and weekends alongside a holiday booked for next month, I’m starting to feel a little less queasy about my reading challenge. Before I delve into the next book of the year, though, it’s time to discuss Difficult Women.
Gay has been a write on my radar for a long time and I, finally, got round to reading her words in form of Difficult Women, a book made up of short stories about different women. The stories are full of power and passion; anger and love; fear and heartbreak. They pose questions in the reader’s mind on feminism and love and life. The stories challenge but they also simply narrate. Difficult Women is almost brutally “human” and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to ignore its stature.
It took me a fair while to finish this collection of stories as I found them all incredibly hard-hitting. I could rarely read more than one story at a time. They were all brilliant in their own right; I just found them hard to digest. I needed time to think about the themes and lesson learnt from each story before I could move onto the next woman’s story. Gay’s female voices are all incredibly different but woven together by a feeling of, I think, unease.
The stories are almost like fables. Throughout or, at least by the very end, we are acutely aware of what Gay is trying to tell us or what she’s trying to show us. Some of the women are treated horrifically, a few are fairytale-loved. They all, however, are struggling deeply and fighting some kind of battle. Feminism is by no means an obvious theme sewn through the stories. I do believe, though, there is a subtext to every sing story. Gay is commenting either directly or indirectly on society and the women within it.
While this is not the easiest read, it is a brilliant one, full of stories that will stay with you. If you haven’t read any Gay before either, this is definitely a good place to start.
I rate Difficult Women by Roxane Gay as 3.5/5!
- Buy the book on Amazon HERE!
- Check out other reviews of this book on Goodreads HERE!
- Read my review of the eighteenth book I’ve read this year HERE!