Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mini-Reviews for Diversiverse: We Should All Be Feminists & An Unnecessary Woman

In an essay adapted from her TED talk, author Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie writes about the meaning of feminism and why it is vital that we make it a priority. This short read is an primer for someone new to feminism and inspiring for those of us who are fighting for women to have all of the opportunities that men do.

Adichie has a way with words. This is obvious from her wildly popular and much beloved short story collection and novels. In We Should All Be Feminists, she combines her charm with some very persuasive reasoning. She points out the insidious problems of modern sexism, like teaching girls to be likable, apologizing for being too feminine or not feminine enough, and assuming that men are the one with the power, authority, or money.

This is an important read for everyone. Adichie is quick to point out that feminism is beneficial to everyone - allowing people to be who they are is freeing and good for both men and women. She sees a future where we teach our sons and daughters differently, where we can change the culture, and where each person is free to discover how they want to live their life and then pursue it with boldness.

Aaliya Saleh lives alone. But she would be the first to tell you it is by choice. Her marriage didn't work out, she has some issues with her family, and frankly, people are irritating. She is happy to spend her days in the little Beirut paradise she has created, among her beloved books. Aaliyah's life is ordered by her work as a translator. This work is just for her, since she has never published it and really has no desire to do so. In An Unnecessary Woman, readers are taken on a journey through the mind and heart of an elderly woman who will tell you exactly what she thinks of war, her nosy neighbors, and the power of literature.

This is a book for readers who love books and have read a lot of them. Aaliyah will most likely school you with her breadth of knowledge and the range of authors and works who she can quote at a moment's notice. But she uses literature as a shield, as a way to avoid meaningful connection with the people around her. An Unnecessary Woman is a story about both the joy of solitude and the beauty of common ground with others.

This is a quiet story and it is a story that expects you to pay attention and to think while you are reading. Aaliya is a fully realized character and her musings, memories, questions, and declarations combine in a book you are not likely to forget anytime soon.


  1. I so want to read this author! Chimamanda Ngoze Adiche. Why don't I? Thanks for the reviews. I have Americanah on my shelf. I should just pick it up already.

    What is it about books on our TBR shelves? :)

    1. She is wonderful! I liked her short stories and this one, but I think Americanah is my favorite so far.

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