The Joy Of Being A Woman book cover

Written by: Amy Hall
Published by: Andrews McNeel Publishing

The Joy of Being a Woman is basically a long list of things–reasons why it rocks to be a woman. Interspersed among these reasons are inspiring and amusing quotes about womanhood. The many roles women must adapt as our lives progress are all covered, from friendship to motherhood to wifery. As Ntozake Shange says as quoted in this book, “where there is a woman, there is magic.” This book will go a ways towards remind us of why.

Hall’s 500 reasons vary from the intensely personal (“ribbed condoms”) to the universal (“finally reaching some common ground with your mother-in-law”). They tend to be very simple things, such as the relief of finding a good psychologist, and do not depend upon a woman being from any specific walk of life or geographical region. While some require motherhood (“your child’s artwork”), not many of them do, so very few readers should feel disenfranchised or occulted by this book.

Many of the selections, however, have more to do with humanity in general than womanhood per se, such as “dropping everything to hug a child or a pet.” In this day and age, can a man still not admit that he cares for another being? Surely he can. Yet even things that simply celebrate life in general can certainly be part of a woman’s life and so belong in this book, even if they aren’t specific to womanhood.

As with any book that is a collection of personal thoughts, no reader will agree with all of Hall’s selections–quite possibly, Hall herself doesn’t agree with all of them, but she does succeed in recognizing the wide variety of womanhood in the Western experience. Not every woman was thrilled the first time she used a feminine product for example, but probably this memory will touch a cord with some readers.

Hall’s style is youthful and witty. Her prose is enjoyable to read and should amuse women of any age or group. She doesn’t go out of her way to offend or cozen anyone, yet she manages to strike a non-offensive yet fresh middle ground.

This book is appropriate for any woman who has, in the days of unequal pay and ignored sexual abuse, forgotten why it was she loved being a woman. It’s also a great book for men to read–The Joy of Being a Woman will not only demonstrate how we think, but will tell men just a bit about what we love about our gender.

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