Thank you to My Kinda Book for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Book: Rules for Being a Girl
Authors: Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno
Year Published: 2020
- Plot: 4/5
- Characters: 3.5/5
- Writing: 3.5/5
- Overall: 3.5/5
Rules for Being a Girl was a short, sharp feminist novel about a girl navigating the expectations, constraints and rules society puts upon women whilst fighting to make her voice heard.
Marin was a top student and co-editor of the school newspaper along with her best friend, Chloe. Everyone, including her, admired their interesting and charismatic English teacher, Mr Beckett (or ‘Bex’) but that all changed until he tried to kiss Marin. There were so many red flags and I could painfully see how he had gradually manipulated her. Marin was horrified- she trusted him and thought he valued her for her skill as a student. What angered her more was that it felt like there was nothing she could do, her school suggesting she was to blame or that she misread the situation, when what he did was wrong. This triggered her to write an article in her school newspaper titled, ‘Rules for Being a Girl’ expressing outrage at a world where girls are scrutinised and dismissed.
Over the course of the book, Marin’s eyes gradually opened to the casual sexism all around her and she started to talk about it and fight back against it. With the help of another teacher she started a feminist book club (my favourite aspect of this book) giving her a place to meet like-minded people and start conversations about intersectional feminism. The book was also rife with feminist book recommendations for example, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
I wished we got to learn more about Marin and see smaller details and nuances to her character. But I did love the strong support network around her from her parents to her friends from the book club that gave her the strength to speak out for herself and for others. Her friend Chloe represented how sometimes people can be dismissed by those closest to them which was also important.
It was a short, simple read better suited to younger end of the YA audience. Whilst the straightforward style was perfect for getting the message across it felt a bit too simplistic for me at times but I would still say Rules for Being a Girl is a worthwhile, thought provoking read.