Book of the Week: Sex Object – Jessica Valenti

Valenti is a Guardian columnist and co-founder of the blog Feministing which Columbia Journalism Review called “head and shoulders above almost any writing on women’s issues in mainstream media.” Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Nation, and Ms. She is the author of several previous books, including the national bestseller Full Frontal Feminism. So it is perhaps not surprising that the Washington Post calls her “one of the most visible and successful feminists of her generation.”

In this new book she uses memoir as a launching pad to explore what it means to live as a woman today. It’s a funny, occasionally touching, frequently disturbing and often feeling revelatory read. Bust magazine says, “There is an awakening that happens as a woman reading this book.” Hopefully men, too.

The review line-up so far gives me the same feeling we had when we published Bad Feminist: This could be big. Salon, Time, O Magazine, NPR’s On Point, an NPR interview, PBS, a NYT interview, a serial excerpt in the Guardian as well as a review and photo essay. And I’m sure much more to come.

‘Who would I be if I didn’t live in a world that hated women?’ asks Valenti, founder of the website Feministing, in the introduction to her new memoir. In a confident and compelling volume…Valenti has a knack for making the mundane moments in her life startling and the shocking ones routine, which is exactly what is needed in a book that seeks to force its readers to reevaluate the norms of sexism and sexual violence that have become our wallpaper….Valenti is at her best when she combines memoir and feminist analysis in a way that feels enlightening and unforced….[It] is enough that it tells one woman’s story, and in its unwavering bravery, it is powerful enough to stand alone.”
Publishers Weekly (boxed review by Laura Bates)

“From discovering she was an object of male desire to being ejaculated on while riding the subway to receiving shocking hate mail as her writing became popular (those vitriolic e-mails and Twitter and Facebook posts appear in the appendix), Valenti describes her experiences with candor and seriocomic humor while offering continually entertaining quips, such as, ‘ignoring men—whether romantically or rhetorically—is existential violence to them.’ Her memoir changes pace when Valenti discusses her near-death experience while delivering her daughter…adding much more than pithy insight to this radical feminist’s life story. An entertaining and shocking memoir from a leading feminist writer.”
Booklist

 “Valenti uses the personal to shed light on a universally female political problem. — Bust

Sex Object is Valenti in full force; sharply unapologetic and jagged edges exposed. Her conversation with the reader is neither tentative nor gentle, but rather a legitimizing of the pain, guilt, grief, and rage that have become an indelible piece of women’s lives.”
— Tara Bagnola, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Sex Object: A Memoir (9780062435088) by Jessica Valenti. $25.99 hardcover. 6/7/16 on sale.

One thought on “Book of the Week: Sex Object – Jessica Valenti

  1. Pingback: Book of the Week: Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube – Blair Braverman | Harper / Bookselling

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