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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 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 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. 4 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 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

    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. 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. 🙌🏻

  3. 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 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.

  4. 4 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 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liz Leaf

    I was so ready to read this but then the summary used the slur “cis” and included men as women (“trans women” are men) and I realized that while surely good intentioned, these women would likely be the same ones who would silence me for my anger and rage at the coopting of the women’s liberation movement by transgender ideology, the child abuse known as transing kids, and the eradication of women’s sex based rights known as gender self ID laws.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 4 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre Sugiuchi

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

  10. 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Claire Foster

    BURN IT DOWN is a collection of lethal, lyrical essays that explore experiences of female anger. More than once, I found myself hissing in recognition or sympathy with the authors. The collection includes a diverse line-up of writers who embrace their anger, rather than mute it. I appreciated how quirky and wise some of these stories were and how they link minor irritations and injustices to full-on, justified wrath. This anthology is a rallying cry to turn things up, get hot, and stay burning.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy Riddell

    Anger, though it should not be so, is distinctly gendered. Male anger is considered powerful, assertive, and dominant. Female anger, on the other hand, is hysterical, bitchy, and unnecessary. Male anger symbolises control, while female anger symbolises a loss of control. Burn it Down is a collection of essays from an impressively diverse selection of female writers, all with their own tales of anger, and how they learned, or are still learning, to shed this notion of female anger. Because of the Anger, though it should not be so, is distinctly gendered. Male anger is considered powerful, assertive, and dominant. Female anger, on the other hand, is hysterical, bitchy, and unnecessary. Male anger symbolises control, while female anger symbolises a loss of control. Burn it Down is a collection of essays from an impressively diverse selection of female writers, all with their own tales of anger, and how they learned, or are still learning, to shed this notion of female anger. Because of the collection’s diversity, much of my experience with Burn it Down was spent listening to the unique fury of the trans woman, the Black woman, the disabled woman, the Muslim woman. This collection makes it clear that the new and acceptable female anger which we hope for should not only come in the form of the middle class, cisgendered white woman, but in the form of woman, in all of her variations. Personal favourites include Leslie Jamieson’s intensely relatable ‘Lungs Full of Burning’, a perfect choice for the opener, ‘Crimes Against the Soul’, Sheryl Ring’s painful and white hot account of how the law industry treated her during the process of her transition, Reema Zaman’s ‘Me and my Voice’, in which I could taste the cake and feel her brushing crumbs from the bed, the educational experience of Monet Patrice Thompson’s ‘The One Emotion Black Women are Able to Explore’, and Dani Boss’ ‘On the Back Burner’, which pragmatically explores the taboo of perimenopausal anger. I was angry myself when I read this. In fact, I chose it because I was angry. Reading these essays, some feeling familiar and others completely novel, became my catharsis. Perhaps I had such a positive experience because I picked this up at the right time, but that does not serve as a detriment. Quite contrarily, it gave this work limitless potential for rereading. Anger is a very lonely emotion for me, one that I have tried to condition myself to squash below until it is starved of oxygen. I have a hot temper, so I don’t do the squashing very effectively. Nevertheless, I spend a lot of time trying not to get angry, but somehow end up getting angrier in the process because I am rolling my fury over and over in my head until it reaches so much traction that it tumbles out of me in a blind, rambling rage. Reading some of these essays gave me a feeling of companionship that abated my anger far more effectively than isolating myself in the hope of not upsetting anybody. As Nina st Piere writes in ‘A Girl, Dancing’, “we eat anger and quietly metabolise it to make you comfortable.” The only downside is that, as is expected of any collection of works, there are very pronounced sections in Burn it Down where my attention started to wander. The first four essays are so strong that they created a lull that didn’t retreat for me until ‘On the Back Burner’. That does not necessarily mean that the submissions in between are weak (although there are one or two weak essays in this collection), and in fact I am more inclined to believe that this lull has been caused by the order of the works rather than their individual strength. I would perhaps reconsider the line up so that each essay gets the chance to reach its maximum potential and poignance. I can’t think of a demographic who I would not recommend at least one essay in this book to. Women need to read this book so that they can stop feeling guilt over their justified anger. Men need to read this book so that they can stop contributing to the system that leads women to feel the need to suppress their anger with guilt. Pick this up. Listen to their stories. Endeavour to understand them, even when understanding evades you. Get upset at them. Most importantly, get angry at them.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lizz DiCesare

    “Throughout history, angry women have been called harpies, bitches, witches, and whores. They’ve been labeled hysterical, crazy, dangerous, delusional, bitter, jealous, irrational, emotional, dramatic, vindictive, petty, hormonal; they’ve been shunned, ignored, drugged, locked up, and killed; kept in line with laws and threats and violence, and with insidious, far-reaching lies about the very nature of what it means to be a woman—that a woman should aspire to be a lady, and that ladies don’t get “Throughout history, angry women have been called harpies, bitches, witches, and whores. They’ve been labeled hysterical, crazy, dangerous, delusional, bitter, jealous, irrational, emotional, dramatic, vindictive, petty, hormonal; they’ve been shunned, ignored, drugged, locked up, and killed; kept in line with laws and threats and violence, and with insidious, far-reaching lies about the very nature of what it means to be a woman—that a woman should aspire to be a lady, and that ladies don’t get angry. Millennia of conditioning is hard to unlearn.” If you’ve ever been called any of the above, or been told that you’re “not acting like a lady,” welcome to the club. It’s fun here, because we’re ANGRY! I’ve spent a lot of therapy sessions talking about my anger: why it’s there, why I’m ashamed of it, and why I’m hesitant to let myself feel angry. It’s a terrible experience, being told you’re not allowed to yell when you’re mad, or that “you’re too emotional” when others around you (men) are acting how you want to act. So, when I first saw this collection of essays, I knew I had to read it. Feminist non-fiction is one of my favourite genres, and I’m always looking for more. This collection includes essays from 22 incredibly diverse women, and a forward from the editor. It was a very quick read, and let me experience a whirlwind of emotion. Each experience is different; some may leave you in tears, whereas others will fill you with hope, and some, rather aptly, will leave you seething with anger. Anger manifests in many ways, and is caused because of countless reasons: illness, harassment, sexual assault, disrespect, violence, and more. Sometimes we may not understand someone’s anger, and that’s when we need to stop and listen to their story. Everyone has different experiences that fuel different emotions, and they’re all valid. One essay in particular really resonated with me: “Why We Cry When We’re Angry,” by Marissa Korbel. My friends who know me well know that I cry a lot. Yes, I cry when I’m sad, but I also cry when I’m overwhelmed and stressed, and holy shit, I cry a lot when I’m angry. It’s awkward at times, and embarrassing, and can make me feel even worse than I already do, but this is how my anger tends to show itself. It often feels like a complicated mess, and I was so happy to read this essay and know that someone else feels their angry in a similar way. "Not all tears are sadness. Not all rage is yelling. Sometimes the wires between one thing and another get crossed, synaptic fizzles. Sometimes it comes out as a sigh, or a thud, or a whimper. Sometimes it looks like tears and tastes like fury." Burn It Down is obviously full of anger, but it’s also full of acceptance and hope. It allowed me to explore new ways to feel my anger and allow myself to make room for it, and it showed me how other women deal with similar experiences. It also showed me many other experiences—some I’d never even thought of before—and the strength and courage it takes to deal with them in a healthy way. I’d like to say that this book is essential reading, because everyone will learn something from it. It’s a quick read, and will give you new ways to reflect and think about anger. Thank you to HBG Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Burn It Down: Women Writing About Anger came out on October 8, 2019, and can be purchased wherever books are sold.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ottavia Mazzon

    This summer, I read about anger: I read a book about anger itself and two very angry books (for different reasons). The anger book is BURN IT DOWN, a collection of essays edited by Lilly Dancyger. [*I got this book as a free ARC on NetGalley - thanks for being so liberal with downloads!*] The anthology contains 22 essays written by women of different backgrounds, different ages, different anything. At first, I was a little taken aback by the large number of contributions to this volume - was it This summer, I read about anger: I read a book about anger itself and two very angry books (for different reasons). The anger book is BURN IT DOWN, a collection of essays edited by Lilly Dancyger. [*I got this book as a free ARC on NetGalley - thanks for being so liberal with downloads!*] The anthology contains 22 essays written by women of different backgrounds, different ages, different anything. At first, I was a little taken aback by the large number of contributions to this volume - was it going to be chaotic with so many voices? I was wrong. There are so many reasons for women to be angry that really, perhaps the book needed to be even longer? It was an excellent read, once I came to terms with the fact that some of the essays are not written for me. I can understand the anger of a American Black woman about how she is educated not be openly angry because she would be automatically seen as threatening and that would put her in danger (“The one emotion Black women are free to explore”, by Monet Patrice Thomas), but ultimately, that essay is not for me. I cannot relate to it and I am not supposed to - I am angry alongside her because she is silenced, and she is silenced even more than any white woman, who does not have to keep her body, any words in check. I am OUTRAGED at the number of ways women can be enraged - and amazed at how all these authors put those feelings onto the page. Being clear while being angry is not an easy job. Looking at a part of yourself you mostly try to hide and recount it as a sort of spectator of yourself is even less easy. I will not comment on the content of the essays - how can someone cast any form of judgment on the way someone else decides to express their feelings is beyond me. This was also not why I read this book. I picked it up because I was burning like the match on the cover - I am not a full-on fire: a match is enough (it’s also annoying like those birthday candles that you cannot blow out? Has anyone else ever had them? I hate those prank things). I was so relieved to find such different women sharing my own ways of expressing anger - I felt like anger could finally be the missing link to building a universal pact of womanhood. I, too, like Marissa Korbel (“Why we cry when we’re angry”), cry a lot when angry. It’s so frustrating biting back tears when you’re enraged and trying to make a point but - damn it! - you hiccup and start trembling and nobody takes you seriously anymore. I found myself screaming, “Listen to what I am saying and don’t look at how I am saying this! I cannot help the tears, but you listen!” on multiple occasions. I, too, like Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (“Hangry Women”), get extremely hangry - and yet I go on diets, and be mad at the drugs I have to take because they slow my metabolism down and it’s a mess. I know it’s not my fault that I am hungry (I know!) - and yet I watch what I eat because I do not want to be bigger than what I am supposed to be (I wake up hangry ALL the time). I read Rowan’s essays three times - a true revelation. And oh boy, didn’t we all met an Alexi in graduate school? (from Meredith Talusan’s essay, “Basic Math”). BURN IT DOWN lit up my spirit. Reading this book made me scared, sad, angry, but also very happy in the shared womanhood it made me experience. Read a couple of essays, read them all. Either way, it’s great.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Caoilo

    A book about woman's right to be angry, to get angry, regardless of the social pressers. This book is about the situations in which woman have found themselves and felt that they were unable to be angry or had their anger misjudged or patronised. Did it do what it set out to? There were plenty of angry storeys. Stories about anger and stories to read made me angry. Working off the blub this is definitely a book I would buy. However, I am glad I didn't. This is my first DNF review book. I was A book about woman's right to be angry, to get angry, regardless of the social pressers. This book is about the situations in which woman have found themselves and felt that they were unable to be angry or had their anger misjudged or patronised. Did it do what it set out to? There were plenty of angry storeys. Stories about anger and stories to read made me angry. Working off the blub this is definitely a book I would buy. However, I am glad I didn't. This is my first DNF review book. I was itching for this book, it spoke not to me but about me. I used to angry cry, that ended when I was a teenager and another female from my own family used it against me. Why did I not love it the way I thought I would? I think it was a mistake to make Leslie Jamison's Lungs Full of Burning the first essay. I agreed with her point of view up until she started to talk about Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. .Though I only know the storey in passing and did not watch the movie I have an idea of the incident. I felt that Jamison had left the realm of talk about anger and slid into the topic of violence. I somehow felt that Jamison was validating the violence used while still trying to take both sides. Though I personally feel violence should be a last resort as a defensive measure. I think if this essay had to be included it should have been in the middle or end of the book. It really took away from my enjoyment of the book. It also leads me to reflect more on the cover of the book which I also felt, after a reassessment to be indicative of violence. The majority of the other stories I read did give me a rush of motivation. Motivation to feel how I feel and not be ashamed of it. I really supported the idea of the book but felt the above reasons stopped me from wanting to pick up the book again. Unfortunately, I stopped reading at page 68. I feel if the book was to focus solely on anger and not drift towards violence it would make all the difference I would also love to read something similar but on how society shames men who cry.

  16. 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 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mary Mithrilil

    This book is f i r e. It was written in the language that that got tired of being timid; it stems from the conscience that refuses to exist to be abused, it is spoken through the body that will not tolerate oppression anymore. It is the story of the black woman, the Muslim woman, the disabled woman, the queer woman, the trans woman, the abused woman, the immigrant woman, the anorexic woman, the woman who will not be silenced. Its force is natural and real. These women, some of which are also This book is f i r e. It was written in the language that that got tired of being timid; it stems from the conscience that refuses to exist to be abused, it is spoken through the body that will not tolerate oppression anymore. It is the story of the black woman, the Muslim woman, the disabled woman, the queer woman, the trans woman, the abused woman, the immigrant woman, the anorexic woman, the woman who will not be silenced. Its force is natural and real. These women, some of which are also writers, have managed to articulate the reality that summarizes the female experience in a world defined by patriarchal values so perfectly. ''Spoiler alert'' (although this is hardly news if you're a woman): this experience has not been easy. Some of these stories are sure to tie your stomach into a knot. This is exactly why they need to be heard. By raising their voices and exposing the violence and the degradation women have had to endure, they turn the collective anger they have been denied (anger is not a feminine thing, you see) into empowerment. The anger filling these pages is a primal one, liberating and inspiring. I stand by my initial impression: I want to turn this whole book into one big, resonating quote and carry it in my mind (and perhaps in the tip of my tongue) forever. '' Girls are carrying too much. We are spilling over, top-heavy and destabilized, but praised for our maturity and adaptability if we take it, denigrated if we do not. Pick us up like a rock and look underneath, you cowards.'' Special thanks to #NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Changeux

    I need more stars! What an amazing book. I could not put it down, and will buy copies to give some of my favorite women as gifts this holiday season. This book is a collection of essays from women attempting to deal with their anger in a society that does not have a clear "acceptable" way for them to do so. The essays cover a variety of root causes (violence, racism, sexual abuse, etc) of the women's anger and the ways in which they have dealt with it, primarily by turning the rage against I need more stars! What an amazing book. I could not put it down, and will buy copies to give some of my favorite women as gifts this holiday season. This book is a collection of essays from women attempting to deal with their anger in a society that does not have a clear "acceptable" way for them to do so. The essays cover a variety of root causes (violence, racism, sexual abuse, etc) of the women's anger and the ways in which they have dealt with it, primarily by turning the rage against themselves (drug abuse, self-harm, etc). I found myself choking back tears and nodding in recognition of the emotional turmoil, pain and confusion expressed in these essays. And at the end of each story I wanted to jump up and cheer. Or scream. I handed my copy to my 18 year-old daughter as soon as I finished reading it. My hope is that our girls will know that their anger is normal and right and just. My hope is that they won't fear their anger or fear other people's reaction to it as we have. My hope is that we can change the narrative when it comes to women owning and expressing their anger. Let's banish the words "crazy," "emotional," "unhinged," "unreasonable," "hormonal," that we've all heard in response when we've let our anger out instead of burying it, where it burns us from the inside.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received this title as an ARC from Netgalley for an unbiased review. This was a very interesting novel, most of all because it featured essays written by all the various people identifying as female. This was very impactful to me because I know, for example, why women familiar to me – my friends, my acquaintances, my aunts, etc. – are angry and I can appreciate the reasons for those I am sympathetic towards but perhaps do not identify with are angry, but Burn It Down more fully articulates why I received this title as an ARC from Netgalley for an unbiased review. This was a very interesting novel, most of all because it featured essays written by all the various people identifying as female. This was very impactful to me because I know, for example, why women familiar to me – my friends, my acquaintances, my aunts, etc. – are angry and I can appreciate the reasons for those I am sympathetic towards but perhaps do not identify with are angry, but Burn It Down more fully articulates why these women are angry. This is nice as it serves not only to better educate me on matters I had an inkling about but not a full understanding of – and it is especially nice because these essays present this information without me having to burden other women with the task of educating me. It is not anyone’s responsibility to do the emotional labor of educating the ignorant – in this case, me – on any given subject; I am aware enough to know what I do not know, and the onus is on me to educate myself. These essays presented well-articulated, insightful thoughts that I feel more informed for reading. A great, recent read-alike to this is Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlyn Joy

    I received an Advanced Reviewer Copy of Burn It Down edited by Lilly Dancyger from the publisher Perseus Books, Basic Books through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. What It’s About: This is an essay collection of women writing about anger and the situations in their lives and how being angry has impacted them or how people perceive their anger. What I Loved: This collection is fantastic! There are so many great essays that I think there's probably an essay that every woman could I received an Advanced Reviewer Copy of Burn It Down edited by Lilly Dancyger from the publisher Perseus Books, Basic Books through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. What It’s About: This is an essay collection of women writing about anger and the situations in their lives and how being angry has impacted them or how people perceive their anger. What I Loved: This collection is fantastic! There are so many great essays that I think there's probably an essay that every woman could connect with. I learned so much about anger and other cultures and was able to put my own actions into the lens of people around me, I think this is what a good collection of essays should do. You should be able to learn, grow, and understand more. I particularly connected with the essays that discuss chronic illness and the anger that comes from having people not believe you or judge you because you don't look sick. The essays were powerful and eye opening, pick up this collection its fantastic. What I didn’t like so much: I can't think of anything off the top of my head! Who Should Read It: Women who want to read a collection that sees them. People who consider themselves allys to women, Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQ causes and want insight into how they can be a better ally. General Summary: An essay collection where women express their anger and how they got here.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

    In Burn It Down, Dancyger complies a collection of essays from a diverse group of authors that explore their rage and their entitlement to not only feel it, but to express it. These essays explore themes such as chronic illness, racism, sexuality, societal expectations, and mental illness. Usually when I review collections of essays, short stories, and/or poetry, I find myself in this same predicament of having some pieces really hit home for me while others not quite making an impact. This may In Burn It Down, Dancyger complies a collection of essays from a diverse group of authors that explore their rage and their entitlement to not only feel it, but to express it. These essays explore themes such as chronic illness, racism, sexuality, societal expectations, and mental illness. Usually when I review collections of essays, short stories, and/or poetry, I find myself in this same predicament of having some pieces really hit home for me while others not quite making an impact. This may be the first collection that I have ever read in which every single essay has impacted me. This gave me a whole list of new favorite authors to go out and explore. This is such a well crafted and put together collection that is incredibly important to continue the conversation about women’s anger and how it’s perceived in the world. I highly recommend this book if you were a fan of Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    Burn it Down is a collection of essays by women exploring women’s anger. Editor Lilly Dancyger solicited essays from a broad spectrum of women and presents a variety of different types of anger, from the anger surrounding sexual assault to the anger derived from not being believed by their own doctor. The writers explore the triggers of their anger, the emotional response of the experience, and how anger impacts their lives. Lilly is a contributing editor and columnist at Catapult, runs the Burn it Down is a collection of essays by women exploring women’s anger. Editor Lilly Dancyger solicited essays from a broad spectrum of women and presents a variety of different types of anger, from the anger surrounding sexual assault to the anger derived from not being believed by their own doctor. The writers explore the triggers of their anger, the emotional response of the experience, and how anger impacts their lives. Lilly is a contributing editor and columnist at Catapult, runs the Memoir Monday newsletter and Brooklyn-based reading series, and is the author of a forthcoming memoir. We spoke by phone shortly after the release of the book. https://vol1brooklyn.com/2019/11/13/t...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate Gwyn

    This book contains about 22 stories from different women about their experiences with anger. I was really interested in reading this and thanks to Net Galley, I was able to get an advanced copy. I feel like women aren't allowed to express their anger like they want to. We have to go and vent to our friends while keeping a smile on at home. I wanted to like this book so much. However, I'm not sure that short stories are for me. I wanted to know more about all of the women and their experiences. This book contains about 22 stories from different women about their experiences with anger. I was really interested in reading this and thanks to Net Galley, I was able to get an advanced copy. I feel like women aren't allowed to express their anger like they want to. We have to go and vent to our friends while keeping a smile on at home. I wanted to like this book so much. However, I'm not sure that short stories are for me. I wanted to know more about all of the women and their experiences. Maybe this would have appealed to me more if it focused on two to four women and not 22 of them. It is important for these women to tell their stories though. If you like short stories and nonfiction, then this book will be right up your alley.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    "For many women, anger is something we're trained to contain or dissociate from. It's an emotion characterized in the culture as a lapse of judgment, a condition that's unpalatable to others and rarely reads as righteous. In this collection of essays, writers examine what it means to be angry while female (and angry while black, and angry while trans, and angry while queer, and so on). While anger is often weaponized against women to delegitimize them, this book gives powerful voice to women's "For many women, anger is something we're trained to contain or dissociate from. It's an emotion characterized in the culture as a lapse of judgment, a condition that's unpalatable to others and rarely reads as righteous. In this collection of essays, writers examine what it means to be angry while female (and angry while black, and angry while trans, and angry while queer, and so on). While anger is often weaponized against women to delegitimize them, this book gives powerful voice to women's rage in all its glory." — Alexa Lee

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ayla

    This book contains short, personal essays from all kind of women. It deals with the subject of the consequences of showing (or not showing) your anger as a woman, and it has some serious consequences. The writers deal with anger, rage and years of built up injustice in their worklives, marriage, health, family and just from being a woman. The essays are very short, so this book is a fast read. Every essay is wel chosen and a couple of them gave me an Oprah "aha" moment. I would highly recommend This book contains short, personal essays from all kind of women. It deals with the subject of the consequences of showing (or not showing) your anger as a woman, and it has some serious consequences. The writers deal with anger, rage and years of built up injustice in their worklives, marriage, health, family and just from being a woman. The essays are very short, so this book is a fast read. Every essay is wel chosen and a couple of them gave me an Oprah "aha" moment. I would highly recommend this book, because it feels like a good talk with al the women in your life. Recognisable for every woman, a good look inside womens lives for men.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    Mixed bag. A few essays were unbearable. Melissa Febos's essay is the only contribution that I loved. The majority of these essays are readable and not particularly impressive. A lot of them follow this sort of format: When they were younger the writer was wronged in some way and they were pissed off about it but they suppressed that anger because it's what is expected of women and now they're no longer going to be quiet about it. Aside from Febos, I liked one of the concluding thoughts of Mixed bag. A few essays were unbearable. Melissa Febos's essay is the only contribution that I loved. The majority of these essays are readable and not particularly impressive. A lot of them follow this sort of format: When they were younger the writer was wronged in some way and they were pissed off about it but they suppressed that anger because it's what is expected of women and now they're no longer going to be quiet about it. Aside from Febos, I liked one of the concluding thoughts of Samantha Riedel's essay: "When our anger has both power and temperance, what barriers may we yet demolish." *I won this from goodreads giveaways

  27. 5 out of 5

    B

    It's basically impossible to rate this book. So I'll just make you a quick list of things I'd say if I cared enough to regale you with narrative: - I would not have read this on my own; I read it as a group project book with friends - I get why these women are angry, they have a right to feel as such - I don't want to be angry - Reading these stories MADE me angry - Finishing this book made me happy, because that meant there were no longer women in my ear reminding me how angry I should be - Snaps for It's basically impossible to rate this book. So I'll just make you a quick list of things I'd say if I cared enough to regale you with narrative: - I would not have read this on my own; I read it as a group project book with friends - I get why these women are angry, they have a right to feel as such - I don't want to be angry - Reading these stories MADE me angry - Finishing this book made me happy, because that meant there were no longer women in my ear reminding me how angry I should be - Snaps for acknowledging hanger as the real thing it is

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gibson

    This essay collection is powerful and lovely and heartbreaking all at once. It delved into so many facets of anger and it included diverse authors so everyone had a voice. The writing was superb, it made me cry sometimes from relief that someone else has felt the way that I do. That anger, which can sometimes be an isolating emotion, can be shared. I am so glad this book exists.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan Young-Schmidt

    This collection of essays will ignite the embers within and fuel blue-hot rage. You'll be hard-pressed to not recognize yourself in these brilliant pieces that so eloquently put words to emotions long suppressed, and thoughts too muddled to understand.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liz Freirich

    I'm glad I read this collection of essays. I'm pleased to have learned about some new (to me) authors. It's not an exceptional collection but if you believe that misogyny and sexism have shaped your life in both small and large ways, you'll want to read what these women are writing about.

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