Diary of a Confused Feminist by Kate Weston
My rating: (1.5 / 5)
15-year-old Kat wants to do GOOD FEMINISM, although she’s not always sure what that means. She also wants to be a writer, get together with Hot Josh (is this a feminist ambition?), win at her coursework and not make a TOTAL EMBARRASSMENT of herself at all times.
But the path to true feminism is filled with mortifying incidents, muddling moments and Instagram hell. And it doesn’t help that Hot Josh is just, well, properly, distractingly hot.
And when everything at school starts to get a bit too much, Kat knows she’s lost her way, and the only way forward is to ask for help …
[I received a copy through NetGalley and Pigeonhole, in exchange for an honest review.]
Originally I mistook this one for a book of essays about Feminism (don’t ask me why), but then, well… why not read it anyway?
Turns out the book had its good sides and a lot of less good sides. It does deal with themes that are familiar to a lot of teenagers (high school, stress, feeling left on the side while your friends get boy/girlfriends…) while also introducing “feminism” through Kat’s questioning and attempts at understanding what it is, what it entails, how to be a Feminist, and so on. And I guess this can indeed lead a reader who’s interested in this to go and do their own research, using this basis as pointers. Not to mention that this novel also sends the message that it’s normal and OK to ask for help if you’re struggling with mental issues, which is something so many people need to hear. So not all is lost.
The problem(s) was that the story was both all over the place, trying to cram too much in too little space (feminism, boyfriends, problems with the Queen Bee, growing up, anxiety, depression) while at the same time being rather slow, with pretty much nothing noteworthy happening for at least half of it. Well, no, there -are- things that happen, but they’re slice-of-life things, not plot-things, and they’re also predictable and cliché. The most interesting ones, such as Kat’s anxiety and treatment, felt rushed in comparison, the same way the “activism” towards the end was rushed. It would’ve been more interesting to see more of this throughout the novel, rather than yet more boyfriend woes and teenager parties and the Mean Queen Bee we’ve seen so much we’ve stopped counting. Or maybe I’m just jaded after having read so many stories with the same plot elements in them?
Conclusion: 1.5 to 2 stars. Good messages when it comes to discovering feminism (for a girl, not for someone who already knows what it entails) and mental health awareness, but plot-wise, it’s nothing to write home about.
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