November 10, 2018

Review: Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger

Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger by Soraya Chemaly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In many ways, this is the perfect book for 2018. I finished reading it on the eve of the US midterm elections, and the results of those elections--so many women, particularly women of color, winning their races--makes this book timely and indispensable and you should read it right now.

There are many reasons women in the US and around the world are angry, and Soraya Chemaly enumerates those reasons in exhausting, well-researched detail. I'm sure some readers (particularly those of the male persuasion) may consider this wealth of detail going overboard, but given many societies' general tendency to minimize and dismiss women's concerns, I would say this is necessary. However, the overall thrust of this book is not that women have reason to be good and mad; it is that, as women, we need to own our anger, not repress it, and learn to channel it in constructive ways, in the interests of generating true change.

(Which, again, is why this book is so timely. What is a better path to change than women protesting, marching, voting, urging others to vote, registering new voters and working to battle voter suppression, and running for office?)

Besides her copious data, Chemaly weaves personal anecdotes from her own family, in particular her mother and grandmother, into her story, which makes her book very readable. The final chapter, "A Rage of Your Own," lays out a ten-point plan for channeling and using your anger, and the conclusion sums up the entire book thusly:

Anger is an assertion of rights and worth. It is communication, equality, and knowledge. It is intimacy, acceptance, fearlessness, embodiment, revolt, and reconciliation. Anger is memory and rage. It is rational thought and irrational pain. Anger is freedom, independence, expansiveness, and entitlement. It is justice, passion, clarity, and motivation. Anger is instrumental, thoughtful, complicated, and resolved. In anger, whether you like it or not, there is truth.

There is also a great deal of truth in this book, especially for women. As the author says, "Angry women burn brighter than the sun." This is a damned good and important book, and I'm glad I found it.

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