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Presented by State Library Victoria

You Too? A series of 25 #metoo Essays Edited by Janet Gurtler

To begin, for all of you living in Victoria and New South Wales who found out just the other day (was it yesterday?? I can’t keep track of time anymore) that we’re ALL going to be doing remote learning, I hope you’re all staying healthy and (at least a little bit) fit, and you’re feeling okay in the mental health area (I believe it’s called the brain). I’m a bit sad that I won’t be able to see my friends for a while still, but I do have to remember at least I don’t have coronavirus and I’m keeping my grandparents, who live with us, safe.

 

Just a little warning: some people won’t be comfortable reading this because it contains strong themes of rape, sexual assault and harassment.

Onto the review:

A timely and heartfelt collection of essays inspired by the #MeToo movement, edited by acclaimed young adult and middle-grade author Janet Gurtler. Featuring Beth Revis, Mackenzi Lee, Ellen Hopkins, Saundra Mitchell, Jennifer Brown, Cheryl Rainfield and many more.

When #MeToo went viral, Janet Gurtler was among the millions of people who began to reflect on her past experiences. Things she had reluctantly accepted—male classmates groping her at recess, harassment at work—came back to her in startling clarity. She needed teens to know what she had not: that no young person should be subject to sexual assault, or made to feel unsafe, less than or degraded.

You Too? was born out of that need. By turns thoughtful and explosive, these personal stories encompass a wide range of experiences and will resonate with every reader who has wondered, “Why is this happening to me?” or secretly felt that their own mistreatment or abuse is somehow their fault—it’s not. Candid and empowering, You Too? is written for teens, but also an essential resource for the adults in their lives—an urgent, compassionate call to listen and create change.

(From Goodreads)

 

This book strays a bit off my usual course; I’m not one to read essays, but I am very passionate about feminism and justice for sexual harassment and abuse survivors. As this book is written by people only from America and Canada, and most stories in a different period (mainly 70s, 80s or 90s), the culture may be a bit different to what’s happening right now in Australia.

The whole George Pell thing, which was just dealt with yesterday, comes to mind. Although I’m not super well informed of his case, I know that his victim’s circumstances are a lot like so many others I read in You Too, making the book all the more relevant now.

The essays were very well written (as most are by professional authors, of course) and I think the stories they had to tell were horrible but important. Even though awareness has been raised, and voices have started speaking up against sexual assault, it’s still happening, so I recommend this book to people who want to educate themselves on this topic from the mouths of people who know first hand what the whole fight is against. Of course, it is very graphic in some parts and some people might struggle to read it, which is okay. There are also other books out there which might be better for some people.

It also discusses things such as race, skin colour and sexuality which all tie in with the theme of equality that is essential to these essays.

 

Here are a few quotes:

“Then why don’t they make a lot of Barbies with skin and hair like mine? All of my friends have hair like Barbie’s, and all of my Barbies have hair like them. I’m the only one who doesn’t.”

Even at eight years old, I was more woke to the underrepresentation of Black culture in the real world than many people are today.

This is How it Ends by Tiffany Brownlee

I am incredibly lucky to be growing up in a world on the forefront of change. The bravery of people with lungs full of passion and voices that are finally peing heard has opened new opportunities for my generation. There is a shift in the way we see the world, no longer accepting actoins that have been tolerated for years without consequences. We still have a long way to go, of course. But I feel the current pushing towards change.

Bus Stop Witchcraft by Kenna Clifford

I look forward to the say we stop saying “Me Too” and start saying “Never Again.”

Young but not Powerless by Eva Darrows

 

Overall I thought that You Too? was incredibly powerful and inspiring. I rate it: 5/5

 

To end on a brighter note, here’s a website you can have fun on:

https://www.patatap.com/

It plays music when you use the qwerty keyboard, and changes the sounds of all of them when you press space!!

Stay safe and also inside…

4 comments

inky State Library Victoria

Thanks sekhmet. Sounds like we could do with an Australian collection of feminist essays? You might be interested in this booklist
https://booklists.insideadog.com.au/booklist-international-womens-day-2019/

9th Apr, 20
sekhmet

Oooh! Thank you so much!

9th Apr, 20
silene

I think books like this are quite powerful. I like the quotes you chose.

9th Apr, 20
sekhmet

Thanks!

9th Apr, 20