Book Review: Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women by Rebecca Traister

Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women

I wanted to love this book. I wanted to be able to read it and think “yes, this is the book I wanted my nieces to read when they’re older and ask questions about why this particular election was such a big deal for women, politics, and women in politics.”

This book didn’t come close. It reads in an almost textbook-like dryness in parts, focusing on things that don’t seem to matter to anyone but the author.  The parts that didn’t leave me fighting to get through were often confusing, filled with quotes from different blogs, activists, or pretty much anyone that the author has met, including “my friend SoAndSo said…”

Did you vote for Obama? OH MY! Well, according to the book, it’s only because you were too blind to see past the hype or you didn’t REALLY listen to Clinton’s proposals. It couldn’t possible be simply because you thought he was the better candidate.  “Slavish devotion” is what it was, you silly dumb American.

In short, the first 200 pages of the book felt the author (and the hundreds of other people she quoted) was telling you why you were wrong for not voting for Clinton. It seemed like Traister was pissed she backed the wrong horse and spent far too long trying to convince the reader that she was right. Huge portions of preachy text.

The name ‘Sarah Palin’ alone grates on my nerves. My personal opinion is that she’s destructive to  politics and only serves to further divide the country. So imagine my surprise when this book got SO MUCH better when Palin entered the story! The author didn’t have as much of a personal stake in Palin’s successes or failures and that in turn made last hundred pages or so so much easier to read and much more enjoyable.

The book was well researched, there’s no doubt there. But the part about blaming Obama “bailing out the banks without strings attached”? Wrong.  Bailouts = Bush, Stimulus = Obama. For someone that devoted an entire book to political stumping she should’ve got such a major thing like that right.

I’d give 2.5 stars if I could.

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