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Burn It Down: Women Writing about Anger

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A rich, nuanced exploration of women's anger from a diverse group of writers Women are angry, and from the #MeToo movement to the record number of women running for political office, they're finally expressing it. But all rage isn't created equal. Who gets to be angry? (If there's now space for cis white women's anger, what about black women? Trans women?) How do women ex A rich, nuanced exploration of women's anger from a diverse group of writers Women are angry, and from the #MeToo movement to the record number of women running for political office, they're finally expressing it. But all rage isn't created equal. Who gets to be angry? (If there's now space for cis white women's anger, what about black women? Trans women?) How do women express their anger? And what will they do with it-individually and collectively? In Burn It Down, a diverse group of women authors explore their rage-from the personal to the systemic, the unacknowledged to the public. One woman describes her rage at her own body when she becomes ill with no explanation. Another writes of the anger she inherits from her father. One Pakistani American writes, "To openly express my anger would be too American," and explains why. Broad-ranging and cathartic, Burn It Down is essential reading for any woman who has burned with rage but questioned if she is entitled to express it.


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A rich, nuanced exploration of women's anger from a diverse group of writers Women are angry, and from the #MeToo movement to the record number of women running for political office, they're finally expressing it. But all rage isn't created equal. Who gets to be angry? (If there's now space for cis white women's anger, what about black women? Trans women?) How do women ex A rich, nuanced exploration of women's anger from a diverse group of writers Women are angry, and from the #MeToo movement to the record number of women running for political office, they're finally expressing it. But all rage isn't created equal. Who gets to be angry? (If there's now space for cis white women's anger, what about black women? Trans women?) How do women express their anger? And what will they do with it-individually and collectively? In Burn It Down, a diverse group of women authors explore their rage-from the personal to the systemic, the unacknowledged to the public. One woman describes her rage at her own body when she becomes ill with no explanation. Another writes of the anger she inherits from her father. One Pakistani American writes, "To openly express my anger would be too American," and explains why. Broad-ranging and cathartic, Burn It Down is essential reading for any woman who has burned with rage but questioned if she is entitled to express it.

30 review for Burn It Down: Women Writing about Anger

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sahitya

    When I first found out about this book, it was almost a visceral reaction that I HAD to read it. And I was very happy when I got the ARC. Anger is something that I was proud of not feeling in my younger days, even more so because I was appreciated for being a well behaved girl. But later on in my life, when I started to show my anger in explosive ways especially during some particular depressive episodes, it was always accompanied by a feeling of shame that I had allowed myself to feel that ange When I first found out about this book, it was almost a visceral reaction that I HAD to read it. And I was very happy when I got the ARC. Anger is something that I was proud of not feeling in my younger days, even more so because I was appreciated for being a well behaved girl. But later on in my life, when I started to show my anger in explosive ways especially during some particular depressive episodes, it was always accompanied by a feeling of shame that I had allowed myself to feel that anger. Even now, it’s not an easy emotion for me to reconcile with but I also don’t know what to do with all the rage I sometimes feel. Hence, this book is something that I really needed to read. These 22 women share their devastating and profound and diverse and real stories of feeling angry, suppressing it, suffering because of it and finally reclaiming it so that they could decide how they wanted to express their rage. It’s an extremely powerful collection of essays and I was amazed by how much of myself I saw in these very personal stories - it helped me feel a little less alone and maybe the next time I feel angry, I might decide to react differently. I usually write reviews and rate each story in an anthology but that would be very unfair here, so below you can find what I understood and felt while reading the stories of these amazing and strong women. If you find that it’s all very long to read, just know that I believe every woman should read this book because I promise you, this is important and you will find some part of yourself in these pages. Highly recommend!!! CW: Sexual assault, drug abuse, self harm, gaslighting, deadnaming and misgendering of trans women, physical and emotional abuse Lungs Full of Burning by Leslie Jamison This essay about the author’s personal experience with anger, always insisting that she felt sadness rather than anger felt very relatable to me because I think I’ve done the same myself. And her insistence that both these emotions aren’t mutually exclusive, that we should be able to express and hone our anger and let it help us fuel our fight for our rights is really invigorating and motivational. She also points out rightly that for some women, it’s a privilege to be able to be restrained in their anger and be lauded for it, while Black Women are unfairly deemed angry and hysterical just for being themselves. The One Emotion Black Women are Free to Explore by Monet Patrice Thomas This was such a powerful but painful read, about how the author always had to put fear above her anger because expressing her true emotions as a Black woman would always end up in her losing something or becoming unsafe. These anecdotes of her life show how her being angry while being Black would always be considered more violent and full of attitude rather than a righteous expression of her feelings, and sometimes stopping herself from expressing it is her only choice. My Body is a Sickness called Anger by Lisa Marie Basile We often read about how women in pain are considered as liars or being hysterical, instead of diagnosing what’s causing the pain. This is the author’s own story of struggling to make sure her voice is heard and demand a diagnosis while living with debilitating chronic pain of almost her whole body and finally waiting years to get her condition diagnosed. And the author rightly points out that every time we aren’t heard and dismissed, it only fuels our anger which leads to stress ultimately leading to more sickness and this is a cycle that keeps going on. It’s a very harrowing but eye opening read about the need to advocate for ourselves even when the whole world refuses to believe us. Guilty by Erin Khar This is the author’s story of how being sexually assaulted in her childhood and never having a way to channel her rage translated into years of feeling guilty and extreme anxiety (for being angry) and suppressing it all under the haze of drugs. And it’s also about her fight to get back up and find better ways to understand her anger and cope with it. Why We Cry When We Are Angry by Marissa Korbel I related to this essay so hard because I have encountered the same thing too many times - when I’m angry, it manifests as tears. While we particularly try to suppress them in professional settings because we are automatically assumed to be weak if we let the tears flow, the authors calls for us to stop pushing them down and letting our rage show, either through writing (like her) or even through the tears themselves. On Transfeminine Anger by Samantha Reidel This was such an insightful and profoundly personal piece by the author, telling us how she used anger and aggression as a defense mechanism because she didn’t feel comfortable in her own body and just wanted to not feel hurt. But post transition life and being able to live it authentically has definitely helped her, but she also explores how her lessons about anger from pre-transition living as a boy might inform her attitudes towards it in the present. She also calls for solidarity between cis and trans women, rightly pointing out that we can all help each other by understanding different perspectives. Unbought and Unbossed by Evette Dionne The author brings great insights into how much intersectionality affects how she has always been perceived by others - being a fat Black woman means that she’ll always be considered the aggressor despite no fault of her own. I totally felt her words when she mentions trying to make herself small and not taking up space so that she isn’t misjudged - it hit me hard because I won’t deny that I have done the same a lot of times. I laud the author’s call to reclaim our anger and use it to fuel our fight against systemic injustices and transgressions, and not feel guilty about taking up space that we deserve. Rebel Girl by Melissa Febos As a young politically aware lesbian feminist, the author finds that she is unable to express herself openly and being the victim of bullying and slut shaming further forces her to turn her anger inward. But her story of finding solidarity and meeting like minded teenagers at camp is really amazing and I liked getting to know how it helped her channel her anger into her writing, and not feel hesitant about feeling it. Hangry Women by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan I’m amazed by how every essay is hitting some part of me hard, and this one is no different. This is about the author’s struggle with feeling hungry but starving herself because thin bodies are propagated to have more value in our media. And how we are sometimes made to feel ashamed just for wanting to eat more or more frequently. As someone who has starved myself many a times in my life for achieving that thin body, but also feeling ashamed whenever I couldn’t control myself, I totally understand the author’s rage at the horrifying statistics of women dying everyday due to some form of eating disorder. Enojada by Rios de la Luz The author tells her story of childhood abuse and how the rage of not being believed by her own mother translated to her anxiety and panic attacks and eroding her trust. And finally she tells the importance of reclaiming her anger and using it to write her own story because it is her right, whether anyone believes her or not. A Girl, Dancing by Nina St. Pierre This was another painful but relatable story about how young girls are always expected to take up much more and be mature and understand a lot more than they actually should or are capable, putting an undue burden on them. And when they are unable to live up to these unfair expectations and act out, it’s considered a moral failing and they are punished, rather than trying to understand what’s behind their anger. I totally second the author’s point that young women should be allowed to be themselves rather than try to box them into roles they can’t play. My Name and My Voice by Reema Zaman The story of a Bangladeshi immigrant, I connected a lot to this. The author’s explanation of how women’s anger usually borne out of injustice is more noble than a man’s anger born usually out of personal insult and ego hurt really resonated with me. And every instance of when she is asked to be quiet about abuse, when she is told that boys will be boys, and when she makes herself small because we are taught that love is compromise and she has to make everything better for her husband - it all felt too realistic for me to handle and I really wanted to know how she came out of it all. Inherited Anger by Marisa Siegel As someone who suffered a lot of emotional abuse at the hands of her drug addict father, the author explains how her anger helped her cut herself off from him and channel it into her writing. But she also explores the idea of how much influence her own anger has on the way she is bringing up her son, wanting him to be secure and never have to suffer like her, but also be able to express freely whatever emotion he feels. This is the first story till now that deals with how the anger might affect across generations and I found her perspective very illuminating. On the Back Burner by Dani Boss Wow, every single author’s personal story seems directly like a page from my own life and I truly don’t understand how to process it all. In this the author talks about how we women are more prone to be silent when something wrong has been done to us, but only rage about it later in our head (or in private) or to our trusted female friends. And this is so me because I always vent my anger in a group chat which has all my close girl friends, but never at the actual subject of my anger. And the author’s issues are compounded because of being in peri menopause and she is unsure how to express all her frustrations without badly affecting her children. Definitely a lot to think about. Basic Math by Meredith Talusan It is actually surprising how a trans woman who grew up as a boy also internalizes the same sexist norms that all of us girls are conditioned with since childhood. The idea of how we women are asked to minimize our intellect to keep the peace, always try to pose any of our criticisms to a man as a question rather than an assertion even if we know we are right, and how we are considered disruptive if we refuse to accept the sexist status quo - it felt very personal to me because it’s another thing which I have learned over the years (to silence myself, not the other way around) so that I can have some peace of mind in my life. And reading the author’s powerful words makes me question if the peace of my mind is worth all the ways I make myself small. The Color of Being Muslim by Shaheen Pasha When the author tells how as a Pakistani-American Muslim woman if she expresses her anger fervently, she would be considered a terrorist in waiting but if she remained passive, she would be considered as an oppressed Muslim, I realized how much tougher it is for her to find an outlet for all her rage, which is compounded by the Islamophobes on one hand, and her own community members on the other hand who shame her for not conforming to their restricted beliefs. I’m glad she found her own path where she could practice her faith while also being an very vocal opponent of everyone who tries to silence her. And it was heartening to see that her daughter is able to live a life with a little less anger despite the kind of world she is living in. Homegrown Anger by Lisa Factora-Borchers As a Filipino-American living in small town Ohio, the author’s anger manifests in her writing because it’s not always easy to confront the bullies, misogynists, nationalists. And when she escapes the town which she thought was the reason for all her problems, she realizes that all the racism and white supremacy is prevalent even in bigger cities, it just has different forms. I liked the author’s advise to hone our anger because only anger which is sustained for long periods of time can lead to resistance and growth, and how we can teach the same to our next generations. Crimes Against the Soul by Sheryl Ring This was a devastating read. The author might be a practicing lawyer but being trans and lesbian means that everyone else assumes they have the right to misgender her and refuse to even work together in certain instances. Her anger is definitely righteous indignation because when lawyers and judges who are supposed to uphold the constitution and do good for people behave this violently towards their colleague, it’s so hard for her to ever find the proper outlet for it. The term she uses is crushing her soul because they all really are doing that by trying to prove that they get to decide her identity and sexuality, not her. For Women Who Grew Up on Eggshells by Minda Honey The author’s story of having to live quietly around a father who was prone to tempers and rages and gaslighting, and years later trying to figure out how to express her anger without hurting him the way he hurt her is very profound and left me with a lot to think about. No Room for Fear by Megan Stielstra The author’s story is the nightmare scenario many parents are kids are living in these days - afraid of the next school shooting. The author’s personal experiences with it are harrowing to read about and I was really tensed until she got to the end. And one thing I’m sure, she has every right to be furious about the situation - in fact, we should all be. Going to War with Myself by Keah Brown As a disabled Black woman, the author faces a lot of discrimination and mocking throughout her life but channels the anger that she feels towards herself, as if her disability is her fault and it was so full of pain. Her journey to realize that she is a beautiful Black woman like any other and it’s the others who should be ashamed because of their prejudices felt so important to read about, and her assertion that marginalized people should use their anger to change the world for the better instead of waiting for others is excellently put. So Now What? By Anna Fitzpatrick There is so much to unpack here - from the author’s rape by someone she trusted to her feeling responsible for defending him because he was usually a nice guy to feeling angry about being unable to find the right vocabulary to describe all her conflicting emotions - it’s a lot to take in. I think she raises the right point when she says that we should concentrate less on trying to rehabilitate the careers and lives of sexual abusers and channel our anger to figure out what the victims and survivors need to move on.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    These pieces are exceptionally well written and I had fun reading them. I had a hard time putting down this book, even though these 22 short essays lend themselves to short reading sessions. Most of the essays are thought provoking, many have humor, virtually all I found relatable to a great or small extent. They come from a diverse group of women and this is a huge additional plus. All of the contributors are writers and they’re superb at their craft. I’ll be seeking out more written work by mo These pieces are exceptionally well written and I had fun reading them. I had a hard time putting down this book, even though these 22 short essays lend themselves to short reading sessions. Most of the essays are thought provoking, many have humor, virtually all I found relatable to a great or small extent. They come from a diverse group of women and this is a huge additional plus. All of the contributors are writers and they’re superb at their craft. I’ll be seeking out more written work by most of them. This book would be wonderful to discuss with others and would make for good reading for a women’s studies or feminist studies or gender studies class or for a book club. They are women’s stories but a lot of history and sociology and culture and facts & statistics are included in some of them. Some of the essays have references to other authors’ books. Between the mentions of other books/writings and the bios of the essayists in the back of the book that include mention of some of their other writing, I know my to read list is about to grow. This book belongs on many of my shelves: art, biography, books about books, essays, history, humor, mental illness, non-fiction, psychology, science, social-culture. Also on my Goodreads authors shelf. I could have added in a few others, including cancer. If I had a feminism shelf it would be on it. I should have that shelf, but for now applicable books will remain on my social-culture shelf. The Introduction by Lilly Dancyger is a fine one for this book and a good short personal essay as well. Women and anger, angry women, an invitation to the reader to feel free to express their anger and use their anger. First essay: “Lungs Full of Burning” by Leslie Jamison: Claiming only sadness and never anger. Great! Lots of humor, lots of pathos, some social science and history and literature. Second essay: The One Emotion Black Women Are Free to Express by Monet Patrice Thomas: Fear, but this is about so much more. Third essay: My Body Is a Sickness Called Anger by Lisa Marie Basile: autoimmune “invisible” ailment. No surprise that this wasn’t a particularly humorous essay. As someone with several “invisible health issues” I could identify with this one. Fourth essay: Rebel Girl by Melissa Febos: She was so lucky to have parents send her to the camp that they did. I particularly appreciated the end. Honest and realistic. Fifth essay: Why We Cry When We’re Angry by Marissa Korbel: I did a lot of crying when angry when I was younger, particularly during my teens, and so I was naturally intrigued by this essay’s title. A perk: I learned exactly why our noses can run when we cry. Sixth essay: On Transfeminine Anger by Samantha Riedel: Good to read one view of one experience with this. Seventh essay: Unbought and Unbossed by Evette Dionne: black and fat and marginalized communities – the title comes from Shirley Chisholm’s political slogan. Eighth essay: Guilty by Erin Khar: sexual abuse and neglect and guilt and addiction, and anger, and healing Ninth essay: Hangry Women by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan: body image and anorexia & associated eating disorders and hunger and full and living life Tenth essay: Enojada by Rios de la Luz: ghosts literal and figurative, sexual abuse not believed, panic attacks and shame, and your own real story, and righteous anger Eleventh essay: A Girl, Dancing by Mina St. Pierre: using bodies & lives to communicate, being asked of too much when too young, not being taken care of properly by adults when young, separate worlds with separate people, falling apart in anger Twelfth essay: My Name and My Voice by Reema Zaman: abusive controlling husband, prior sexual assaults, anorexia, scary and heartbreaking and some relief but I wanted to know then what/what now Thirteenth essay: Inherited Anger by Marisa Siegel: childhood/lifetime of anger, abusive addict father, she took partial then full control, but kept anger away from her young son of course he will feel feeling but then she seemed to know that, understandable she’d worry for her son and do her best to raise him different from her father Fourteenth essay: On the Back Burner by Dani Boss: role models family/society of men’s permission to express anger and women expected to not express it, coming at perimenopause, her step-children, her husband, Mindfulness book as yet unread Fifteenth essay: “Basic Math” by Meredith Talusan: unique and useful and fascinating perspective as a trans woman good at math and at writing, and how women are encouraged to act around men in their short term best interests but not for their lives/women in society Sixteenth essay: The Color of Being Muslim by Shaheen Pasha: Anger as different colors, not being allowed to express anger within or outside Muslim community, being not Muslim enough or too Muslim for others, prejudice and pressure, vs. her teenage daughter Seventeenth essay: Homegrown Anger by Lisa Factora-Borchers: chronic anger, befriending anger, Ohio & everywhere, entire life and in the age of Trump, experiencing racism & bigotry Eighteenth essay: Crimes Against the Soul by Sheryl Ring: anger and rage at those guilty of horrific verbal abuse and misgendering of a transgender woman, especially at work (other lawyers, judges, in courts of law) and also in medical and other settings Nineteenth essay: For Women Who Grew Up on Eggshells by Minda Honey: learning (mother helping teach) to live with an angry (but also loving) father, then a father who withdraws, also a mother with cancer, and anger as an adult at father. I don’t know why I pick this quote since there are multiple quote worthy lines in every one of these essays except that it strikes a particular chord: “I flooded him with my angry words like lava racing across the land to be comforted by the sea.” Twentieth essay: No More Room for Fear by Megan Stielstra: rage at gun violence, multiple stories/instances, a few personal Twenty-first essay: Going to War with Myself by Keah Brown: anger turned inward when mocked for her disability (cerebral palsy) and now using anger to fight for rights for disabled and others and to fight injustice Twenty-second essay: So Now What? By Anna Fitzpatrick: rape by an acquaintance, post traumatic stress, anger, forgiveness, questioning, #metoo Highly recommended! 5 full stars!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tzipora

    Easily one of the most important books I’ve ever read. Feminist works are getting me through this wildly difficult time in my personal life and in the world right now and this one especially is and was everything. I have a zillion strips of paper wedges into my copy, marking passages that spoke to me. This is a book that made me want to write, inspired me, made me feel seen, helped me see and understand both myself and the world better. I cannot praise this collection more highly. It has such a Easily one of the most important books I’ve ever read. Feminist works are getting me through this wildly difficult time in my personal life and in the world right now and this one especially is and was everything. I have a zillion strips of paper wedges into my copy, marking passages that spoke to me. This is a book that made me want to write, inspired me, made me feel seen, helped me see and understand both myself and the world better. I cannot praise this collection more highly. It has such a diverse range of voices- multiple transwomen, disabled writers, queer women, a wide variety of racial and religious identities. And in almost all of them I found so much I could relate to and that spoke to me. And a special shout out to Lisa Marie Basile’s “My Body Is a Sickness Called Anger”. I have never seen a better or more relatable title in all my life. After all, the expected narrative for all who are disabled and/or chronically or terminally ill is to be the long suffering saint, to die and have people say “And she never once complained”. People tell me I am too angry and the thing is I’m not so much angry because I’m sick. I long ago accepted that. I’m angry about ableism, about the utter lack of supports for people like me, about the profound misogyny and endless traumas inflicted by the medical establishment, about the poverty the comes hand in hand with being this sick, about how much better my quality of life could and should be if things were different and better and if only I was just listened to. In the midsts of the Coronavirus pandemic I’m raging as every week when I call in my infusion supplies I learn one more thing is rationed deeply or utterly unavailable. And each of these things- masks, hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, etc put me at a greater and greater risk of sepsis- a fucking terrible way to die, a condition far, far more deadly than the virus. I’m also in the midsts of a severe and G-d awful personal medical drama. I suppose several of you count my health itself is doing profoundly poorly and I know we can’t even figure it out because no procedures or appointments are happening and I can’t go to the hospital. But worse than that is a doctor ripping necessary medications from me in what has to be literally the worst time on earth to possibly do just that. I’m drowning in rage and underneath it despair but at least the rage empowers and energized and strengthens me. It took me a long damn time to realize that. I, like one of the writers in this anthology, grew up believing I simply didn’t get angry. I grew up in a household where frightening and violent rages were common from the men but me, no, I didn’t get angry. It wasn’t until I was 19 or 20, finally working through being raped as a child that I started to truly get angry and it terrified me. And I saw the way everyone around me judged me. Now though, while my anger remains unwelcomed, when people suggest maybe I’d get the help I needed if I was less angry (don’t you think I’ve tried that?), I know how to deal with it, to let it fuel me and through this book and several others I’ve read recently I’m learning even how to let that anger inspire me as well. I’m not ashamed of my rage. I don’t believe anyone could live the life I have Ian and not be filled with rage and having sunk into the despair side of things more recently, let me tell you, anger isn’t so bad at all. Rage can be self protective. Most importantly, while we have been socialized and taught otherwise, women have every right to anger and rage. Marginalized groups of women are especially policed and told we aren’t allowed our anger but who has more anger than a marginalized or multi-marginalized woman? I’m done swallowing mine. So are each of the women in this book. And I believe a woman who knows herself and is in touch with the very anger the patriarchy has long denied her is a powerful force to be reckoned with. I so needed this book. I think we all need this book. Quite possibly the most important book I’ve ever read, certainly one of the most life changing ones. Read this, you need this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    Simply an incredible collection made up of diverse voices and strong, relatable stories which both enraged and placated me in so far as I was contented to feel a little less alone in my own daily anger. Each writer here is worth watching. Several were already favorites and I’ve found many more to add to my list. 🙌🏻

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for a preview ARC for an honest review. This collection of essays was amazing. It spoke to me on so many levels, and from the first essay on I found myself saying “yes, yes, yes!” This felt very timely to me, as my girlfriends and I have been talking about how things have changed for women since we were growing up, but how much the younger generation still has to fight to be heard, to be respected, to be treated fairly and not seen as an object or a caret Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for a preview ARC for an honest review. This collection of essays was amazing. It spoke to me on so many levels, and from the first essay on I found myself saying “yes, yes, yes!” This felt very timely to me, as my girlfriends and I have been talking about how things have changed for women since we were growing up, but how much the younger generation still has to fight to be heard, to be respected, to be treated fairly and not seen as an object or a caretaker or second class citizen. The contributors cover all aspects of society and cover a range of experiences and topics about being female and why they aren't going to be angry anymore: immigrant, Muslim, Black, sexual harassment in the workplace, rape, and transgender to name a few. I found the essay by the transgender female the most interesting because of the unique perspective of growing up as a male and existing and living under certain unspoken rules of maleness that are allowed (in this case the classroom), but then returning to the classroom as a female and having to relearn what is acceptable for a female in regards to how we are expected to interact with males and how we shouldn’t appear too intelligent or try to make the males look weak or stupid. Hearing it from her point of view just solidified what I had already suspected and felt that I had experienced and watched other strong, intelligent females experience. Each author’s story and background are unique and while they seem to give the reader a singular view of what it’s like to be a female in our society today, frankly, take all the uniqueness and adjectives and descriptors away and nothing changes-we are all a united sisterhood fighting the same stereotypes and patriarchal rules that have governed us for centuries. It doesn’t matter what our skin color is, or where we were born, we need to learn to not only love and respect ourselves, but respect and support each other. That’s the only way we are really ever going to overcome this inequality. I want to give a copy of this to every female I work with! I will definitely recommend it to them. Thank you again Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paisley Green

    The concept is great: 22 women from all different walks of life write about anger in concise essays. As the essays will tell you (over and over again), women’s anger is often diminished, ridiculed, stigmatized, and dismissed, so this was a cool collection for people writing about what makes them angry—abuse, trauma, addiction, Trump. But. This collection could get reeeeeaaallly repetitive. Not just in that all of the essays are themed together by a common emotion, but the narrative structure its The concept is great: 22 women from all different walks of life write about anger in concise essays. As the essays will tell you (over and over again), women’s anger is often diminished, ridiculed, stigmatized, and dismissed, so this was a cool collection for people writing about what makes them angry—abuse, trauma, addiction, Trump. But. This collection could get reeeeeaaallly repetitive. Not just in that all of the essays are themed together by a common emotion, but the narrative structure itself was often repeated from essay to essay: Discuss a personal story of rage + connect to a systemic issue of women’s anger being diminished and all the other verbs mentioned above + writer finds social media activism as a positive outlet for anger. Although the stories and women themselves varied, the structure for most of them felt the same in this precise way, which made me tune out at times. Some essays were written more successfully than others (which also happens in a collection), but the strength of the bookending essays made the other ones less compelling by comparison.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dora Okeyo

    Women Writing about Anger is the book I needed but didn't know I did, not when you are told "stop whining" and "why are you so anti-men?" Or "that's very unlady-like of you," and more so today- there are so many avenues for women to express themselves, but with these avenues also come very patriarchal expectations. You can't help but ask when will women catch a break? Thanks Netgalley for the eARC, in these 22 women, I did feel home.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong • Essential Reading! I was intrigued by this collection the moment I heard about it. And it did not dissapoint! In these 22 introspective and sharp essays a diverse selection of female authors explore their rage and the different forms it takes. • This was such a great collection! I found several new authors to add to my growing reading pile. I appreciated the diversity in the authors voices. The different perspectives really offered a l For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong • Essential Reading! I was intrigued by this collection the moment I heard about it. And it did not dissapoint! In these 22 introspective and sharp essays a diverse selection of female authors explore their rage and the different forms it takes. • This was such a great collection! I found several new authors to add to my growing reading pile. I appreciated the diversity in the authors voices. The different perspectives really offered a lot of understanding how different women express and experience anger. From tramatic experiences to illness, disability and so much more. This collection gave me a lot to think about in terms of the essays in the book and accepting my own anger and the need to make more space for it in my own life. Seriously smart and necessary reading! Out October 8th!! • Thank You to the publisher for sending me this book opinions are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    I really genuinely enjoyed this book & the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the writing is of somewhat mixed quality. I love, love that this book of essays includes essays written by diverse individuals; the diversity of the topics also makes it interesting to read through, since no one’s experiences with anger are entirely the same. Warning: Reading this book WILL make you feel angry too. I really genuinely enjoyed this book & the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the writing is of somewhat mixed quality. I love, love that this book of essays includes essays written by diverse individuals; the diversity of the topics also makes it interesting to read through, since no one’s experiences with anger are entirely the same. Warning: Reading this book WILL make you feel angry too.

  10. 4 out of 5

    astrid

    Overall really enjoyed this collection. Huge experience of catharsis, seeing the kind of rage experienced and lived with as a woman reflected in each of these writers. Female rage is a shared experience; the voices of women from all walks of life declare it so in an extremely powerful volume. I checked it out from my local library (good on them for having it) but I find myself inclined to purchase it now. Personal favorites include: Rebel Girl by Melissa Febos; For Women Who Grew Up on Eggshells Overall really enjoyed this collection. Huge experience of catharsis, seeing the kind of rage experienced and lived with as a woman reflected in each of these writers. Female rage is a shared experience; the voices of women from all walks of life declare it so in an extremely powerful volume. I checked it out from my local library (good on them for having it) but I find myself inclined to purchase it now. Personal favorites include: Rebel Girl by Melissa Febos; For Women Who Grew Up on Eggshells by Minda Honey; A Girl, Dancing by Nina St. Pierre and No More Room for Fear by Megan Stielstra.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Lively

    READY TO RAGE

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    Read this during the pandemic and cannot recommend it enough. It's a collection of essays about women's anger. The essays were very short, but poignant. The writers dealt with a wide range of subjects, including sexual assault, sexism, abuse and eating disorders. There were essays by disabled women, women of colour, queer women and transwomen. I really liked this collection, and it was the perfect thing to read right now.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Anyone who reads this collection of essays on women's anger is bound to find at least one that resonates with them. Women are not permitted their anger. It makes them unattractive. It makes them bitchy. It makes them... difficult. Women who are difficult are wrong, but so are women who are easy. Women are angry because their pain and illness is dismissed. They are angry because if they don't resist rape and assault hard enough, their passivity is deemed consent. But they know that resistance can Anyone who reads this collection of essays on women's anger is bound to find at least one that resonates with them. Women are not permitted their anger. It makes them unattractive. It makes them bitchy. It makes them... difficult. Women who are difficult are wrong, but so are women who are easy. Women are angry because their pain and illness is dismissed. They are angry because if they don't resist rape and assault hard enough, their passivity is deemed consent. But they know that resistance can mean escalation, leading to greater injury and death. These are the stories you'll find in Burn it Down. I thought I'd read it in small doses, over time, but I found it entirely bingeable and powered through it over a week. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #BurnItDown #NetGalley

  14. 5 out of 5

    A

    First of all I love that this collection of essays exists. In my early life, rage (at the world, at myself, at all of the things) was how I survived. Over the years, I've healed enough to see there was just as much pain (if not more) under all that rage. Nevertheless, rage is an important part of me and I'm grateful it saved me. And I find, as a society, we don't talk about it much. I found a lot to love in this collection of essays. I appreciated the diversity of voices and the essays by trans First of all I love that this collection of essays exists. In my early life, rage (at the world, at myself, at all of the things) was how I survived. Over the years, I've healed enough to see there was just as much pain (if not more) under all that rage. Nevertheless, rage is an important part of me and I'm grateful it saved me. And I find, as a society, we don't talk about it much. I found a lot to love in this collection of essays. I appreciated the diversity of voices and the essays by trans women were the most illuminating for me. I am again reminded of the toxicity of TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) in Samantha Riedel's essay, On Transfeminine Anger and touched by her exploration of anger as both a boy who uses it as armor and the woman who expresses herself with anger, sadness and everything in between. Crimes Agains the Soul, by Sheryl Ring brings home the violence of being misgendered. And the essay by Meredith Talusan "Basic Math" spoke to me and my ongoing journey as an artist and woman. The essay begins when she questions a fellow MFA candidate's visual aid, knowing full well he's done the math wrong. When she shyly questions his methods, he tells her, dismissively, "It's basic math, Meredith." She explores the experience in detail that I won't go into here but at the end of the essay she says, "I continue to look back at that moment, when I thought myself to be less intelligent than I was in response to a man's challenge, and I realize now that it wasn't just me absorbing social conditioning I could only describe as negative. It was actually my mind trying to protect me from the risk of believing myself to be fully equal to men, despite being a woman. It was my mind trying to force itself to believe I was less, because it would be to my own immediate benefit to believe that, even if doing so would collectively kept women down. If I had learned to make myself small, then I could have had a chance to get along in the world, to hope that a mentor would someday discover my abilities and usher me into success at which I as a woman would marvel in wonder, conditioned to see my talent as a pleasant surprise rather than a quality I knowingly possessed. Making myself small as a woman would have been to my benefit, but I'm glad I overcame the unconscious temptation to lessen myself, because maybe having fought and continuing to fight - often against my own best interests - would mean fewer women will need to make themselves less in the future." Amen, sister.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    Surprisingly, I didn't find this book to be all that angry.  But perhaps that's because even when given permission, even in non-verbal language, we still hold ourselves back.  But still, that being said, I was nearly at the end of the book when I read my first "fuck".  What I will say, however, is that there is a lot to be angry about, and Dancyger didn't choose women who were only cis, only white, and only able-bodied.  There's a huge array of women being represented, and a huge array of reason Surprisingly, I didn't find this book to be all that angry.  But perhaps that's because even when given permission, even in non-verbal language, we still hold ourselves back.  But still, that being said, I was nearly at the end of the book when I read my first "fuck".  What I will say, however, is that there is a lot to be angry about, and Dancyger didn't choose women who were only cis, only white, and only able-bodied.  There's a huge array of women being represented, and a huge array of reasons to be angry.   I live a fairly privileged life, and so luckily these essays didn't largely affect me--though I would throw out a word to the wise if you're still struggling with and are triggered by topics such as rape or transphobia.  These topics come up frequently, and such essays may need a longer while to decompress. But despite the fact that I didn't find this as angry as I expected, I do think that it was hugely interesting, that these women's analyses of their anger was right on the point, right on the nose of the problem.  We all know at this point that women are never allowed to express anger, often learning to suppress it as frustration, stress, or tears.  That being said, I really wish I could remember the essay that discusses something that I'm just going to coin as "anger loops".   Anger loops are when you find yourself getting angry, but then say it's not really worth getting angry over, and then you get angry because why the hell can't you just be angry and oh my god if you get angry then everyone's going to react towards your anger and goddammit that makes me angry too!  And then you just end up getting angry and defeatist.  That's the one that rang truest for me, and hit closest to home because I know I can be mad, I'm allowed to be mad, and yet I can't just seem to let it out!   Certainly I found this to be a wonderful and entertaining book given the topic and today's day and age.  Definitely worth reading if you're struggling with getting angry as well! Review cross-listed here!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (The Biblophage)

    This book is probably the most cathartic and healing thing I've ever read. Each essay packs a punch, shedding light on women of every walk of life and how they contend with anger. Anger is a natural emotion that women have been forced to ignore based on generations of societal conditioning. But these women featured in this collection bravely share their experiences. They discuss navigating anger, how they've reconciled and repurposed rage to challenge themselves, heal, fuel their careers, and al This book is probably the most cathartic and healing thing I've ever read. Each essay packs a punch, shedding light on women of every walk of life and how they contend with anger. Anger is a natural emotion that women have been forced to ignore based on generations of societal conditioning. But these women featured in this collection bravely share their experiences. They discuss navigating anger, how they've reconciled and repurposed rage to challenge themselves, heal, fuel their careers, and allow room for introspection. Women have never been allowed to explore anger for anger's sake and this collection does that so masterfully. Its essays and powerful messages will stay with me for years to come. It has encouraged me and I am a different woman now than I was before reading it. I cannot recommend this collection enough.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Burn It Down is an apologetic collection of essays from women who learned to release their anger despite everything they have been taught about keeping it in. They share their voices of rage and anger in a way that screams "no more!" The reasons for their anger is diverse and this covers a lot of different reasons for anger including assault, race, family matters and so many more. Each woman who has shared their story in this collection has added their voice to make a powerful impact on what it Burn It Down is an apologetic collection of essays from women who learned to release their anger despite everything they have been taught about keeping it in. They share their voices of rage and anger in a way that screams "no more!" The reasons for their anger is diverse and this covers a lot of different reasons for anger including assault, race, family matters and so many more. Each woman who has shared their story in this collection has added their voice to make a powerful impact on what it means to be female and angry.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    I don't usually care for books of essays, but the title drew me in. Throughout my life, and particularly in the last few years, I have often felt the urge to "Burn It Down"--to set the world on fire with my rage and see it reduced to ash. Reading these women's stories reminded me that it's okay to be mad, and that anger can be used to fuel progress. Would recommend to those who are furious with the world and want to help change it for the better.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    There's so much to be angry about. 22 women writers have their say about what triggers and fuels their rage. This inclusive group of writers give a broad range of perspectives. I hope they feel better after writing about their anger. It certainly validated my own anger to read about theirs. I wish all the angry people would just do some writing instead of doing physical harm to others....

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katie Bruell

    This was really great, with lots to think about. Some of the essays were 5s for me (esp Evette Dionne's and Melissa Febos's). All of the essays were important and contained something that needed to be said.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre Sugiuchi

    Fabulous essay collection edited by the great Lilly Dancyger. Highly recommended!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I bought this book to give to my daughter for Christmas but I wanted to read it before I passed it on. I thought it was a good collection, it had a cohesive theme but enough variation to make it really interesting. I hope my daughter likes it as much as I did.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Morrison

    Good collection of essays! I liked the diversity of experience, especially the inclusion of trans narratives.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bertine

    About half the essays were great, about quarter were good and the rest were okay.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carla Jean

    As with most multi-author essay collections, some pieces are stronger than others and there’s some repetition. But it reminded me, over and over, that my anger is valid and OK.

  26. 4 out of 5

    meli

    great collection of essays, we need to allow and recognize anger.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katy Nimmons

    These essays address women‘s anger in a range of voices, tones, and perspectives. I would get worked up while reading but took comfort in the fact that so many of these talented and inspired women are fighting the good fight.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Brilliant concept full of intensely personal stories! This book is not for the faint of heart. I found it incredibly helpful in understanding my relationship with anger.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    I like the diversity and inclusivity of the writers in this book. The honest experiences of their anger ignites a particular fuel in me that’s affirming and motivating.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jillian M.

    This was a FANTASTIC essay collection! Fiercely feminist, it examines the myriad ways women experience anger. From the first experience of true anger, to practicing anger as a mechanism for social change, the contributors to this anthology run the gamut. I was especially happy to note that Dancyger (the Editor) featured voices that are often marginalized in feminist discussion and discourse. Essays in BURN IT DOWN appear from trans women, Latina women, African American women, you name it. That i This was a FANTASTIC essay collection! Fiercely feminist, it examines the myriad ways women experience anger. From the first experience of true anger, to practicing anger as a mechanism for social change, the contributors to this anthology run the gamut. I was especially happy to note that Dancyger (the Editor) featured voices that are often marginalized in feminist discussion and discourse. Essays in BURN IT DOWN appear from trans women, Latina women, African American women, you name it. That is, more than anything, what I found so special, because each experience of female anger is so different, and it is often rooted in a woman's experience in the world. One's cultural identity is often a important factor in shaping how she deals with anger--any emotion really--so by including women from different backgrounds, the reader is able to gain more of an understanding of where this anger comes from and how it affects all of us. By that I mean society as a whole, not just women or a particular subset, but the culture we experience, because, to be honest, cultural (r)evolution is often rooted in anger, manifesting itself when those who have suffered refuse to do so any longer. I wouldn't be surprised to find this book on multiple syllabi for Women's Studies classrooms in the coming years. It is truly an accomplishment for literature and for its contributors. It isn't often a book with so many unique and dynamic voices, encompassing such a range of experience, comes so close to incorporating a universal truth: that anger is just as important an emotion as love when it comes to shaping who are and who we become. Just as darkness and light need to coexist in order to exist at all, BURN IT DOWN demonstrates that we must have also anger in our lives in order to know when we are experiencing love and, most importantly, progress.

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