Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 3 - 2015

Book 3: The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss – 323 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
The no.1 bestselling non-fiction hit! Tara Moss's first work of non-fiction - a fascinating mix of memoir and social comment - is sparking conversation all over the country. What are your fictions? Tara Moss has worn many labels in her time, including 'author', 'model', 'gold-digger', 'commentator', 'inspiration', 'dumb blonde', 'feminist' and 'mother', among many others. Now, in her first work of non-fiction, she blends memoir and social analysis to examine the common fictions about women. She traces key moments in her life - from small-town tomboy in Canada, to international fashion model in the 90s, to bestselling author taking a polygraph test in 2002 to prove she writes her own work - and weaves her own experiences into a broader look at everyday sexism and issues surrounding the under-representation of women, modern motherhood, body image and the portrayal of women in politics, entertainment, advertising and the media. Deeply personal and revealing, this is more than just Tara Moss's own story. At once insightful, challenging and entertaining, she asks how we can change the old fictions, one woman at a time.

Tara Moss is a pretty famous novelist here in Australia. I’ve never really liked her, for the purely ridiculous reason that 1) my name is also Tara and I have this strange obsession with being the only ‘famous’ Tara (one day), and 2) I too write and I’m mildly pissed that we share a name and that she is famous (for now) and I am not. I know, stupid reasons, but whatever. So I’ve never read her crime novels, and I still don’t think I’m going to start. Having said that, this was a really good book. When I first saw it advertised at the uni bookshop (I work in a uni FYI), I was mildly curious. The book has an interesting cover – a picture of Moss’ face (for the record, she was/is a model), with black Sharpie spelling out a variety of labels across her cheeks, forehead etc. Unlike Moss’ previous books, this is a non-fiction work, a discussion about Moss’ life, and the challenges of being a woman in today’s world. Moss’ weaves her way through her modeling career, her writing career, marriage and divorce, her journey into motherhood, the loss of her own mother, a miscarriage, her work with various humanitarian agencies and various other deeply personal stories against the back drop of the media, her ongoing struggle with being taken seriously because of her looks, and the still long way forward for women to truly be seen as equal and able to contribute effectively to the world. There was a lot I could relate to in here, though I’m neither a model, a mother, nor a variety of other labels possessed by Moss. I too have felt, time and again, the mockery of being considered not pretty but young (I am 28, I am often mistaken for being 18 – this has been happening almost consistently for the last 10 years – bear in mind, the drinking age in Australia is 18, and I still get asked for ID on the rare occasions I buy alcohol).  To this day, despite working in a pretty senior level position in my organization, I still struggle to get taken seriously by a lot of staff. Whilst Moss writes crime, I write sci-fi, and that in itself yields more looks of derision than I care to remember. As if a girl could write sci-fi. As if someone who looks like you wants to write sci-fi (I’m not exactly a stereotypical nerd girl – starting with the fact that I’m blonde). Moss’ thoughts are interesting, considered and fair. She doesn’t judge other women for their own decision, rather standing up for their right to make their own decisions. She’s obviously an intelligent woman – it rings out warmly from her words – and she consistently impressed me throughout the book. I came away from the whole thing impressed, inspired, and encouraged by Moss. A little part of me is still jealous – mostly from the writer standpoint. Moss writes crime, and I’m still fairly convinced that crime is easier to get published than sci-fi (at least in Australia) though maybe that’s not altogether fair – it is a much bigger market to wade into. But another part of me has developed a great deal of respect for Moss. It is good to know the world of literature and women’s rights is in such good hands.

3 / 50 books. 6% done!

753 / 15000 pages. 5% done!

Currently reading:
-        Work’s Intimacy by Melissa Gregg – 198 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
-        The Other Side of Despair: Jews and Arabs in the Promised Land by Daniel Gavron – 240 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        The Rise of the Creative Class: Revisited by Richard Florida – 465 pages
Tags: academic, feminist, memoir, non-fiction

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