cover image Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls

Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls

Elizabeth Renzetti. House of Anansi (PGW, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $16.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4870-0304-3

Journalist and novelist Renzetti (Based on a True Story) delivers a sharp assessment of what it is to be a woman in a man’s world in these short, punchy essays about, among other things, the myriad reasons women stay silent after being assaulted by men, the things the author wants her daughter and son to know about misogyny, and the way the patriarchy normalizes inequality. Entertainingly mixing the personal and political, Renzetti describes the voice in her own head and most women’s as “an asshole who does not want you to test your wingspan... ask for a book contract, or go for an audition, or apply for a job promotion.” She then explains, “There are people... who instead have a throaty-voiced cheerleader reclining on the chaise lounge of their consciousness, saying Damn, they’d be lucky to have you for that job. These people are called ‘men.’ ” She takes readers into her own frantic efforts to balance work and family life, as well as her interviews with remarkable women such as Germaine Greer. Renzetti acknowledges the criticism that white feminism has excluded women of color and candidly describes the difficulty and necessity of having “to pass over the grievance microphone” to other people. Throughout, Renzetti’s prose is clever, witty, and accessible, making the book fun for feminists and a good gift for anyone who questions why feminism is still necessary. (Mar.)