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

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Why are there so few women in politics? Why is public space, whether it’s the street or social media, still so inhospitable to women? What does Carrie Fisher have to do with Mary Wollstonecraft? And why is a wedding ceremony Satan’s playground? These are some of the questions that bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Renzetti examines in her new collection Why are there so few women in politics? Why is public space, whether it’s the street or social media, still so inhospitable to women? What does Carrie Fisher have to do with Mary Wollstonecraft? And why is a wedding ceremony Satan’s playground? These are some of the questions that bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Renzetti examines in her new collection of essays. Drawing upon Renzetti’s decades of reporting on feminist issues, Shrewed is a book about feminism’s crossroads. From Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign to the quest for equal pay, from the lessons we can learn from old ladies to the future of feminism in a turbulent world, Renzetti takes a pointed, witty look at how far we’ve come — and how far we have to go. If Nellie McClung and Erma Bombeck had an IVF baby, this book would be the result. If they’d lived at the same time. And in the same country. And if IVF had been invented. Well, you get the point.


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Why are there so few women in politics? Why is public space, whether it’s the street or social media, still so inhospitable to women? What does Carrie Fisher have to do with Mary Wollstonecraft? And why is a wedding ceremony Satan’s playground? These are some of the questions that bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Renzetti examines in her new collection Why are there so few women in politics? Why is public space, whether it’s the street or social media, still so inhospitable to women? What does Carrie Fisher have to do with Mary Wollstonecraft? And why is a wedding ceremony Satan’s playground? These are some of the questions that bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Renzetti examines in her new collection of essays. Drawing upon Renzetti’s decades of reporting on feminist issues, Shrewed is a book about feminism’s crossroads. From Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign to the quest for equal pay, from the lessons we can learn from old ladies to the future of feminism in a turbulent world, Renzetti takes a pointed, witty look at how far we’ve come — and how far we have to go. If Nellie McClung and Erma Bombeck had an IVF baby, this book would be the result. If they’d lived at the same time. And in the same country. And if IVF had been invented. Well, you get the point.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    A quick though emotional read of Elizabeth Renzetti's personal and professional experiences with misogyny, though she does write a little also about the extra hurdles and barriers in place for women of colour and those in the LGBTQ community. And this is written from a North American perspective, so there isn't much about women throughout the world. That said, Renzetti's does cover, in an accessible manner, what it was like growing up and working as a journalist and what she encountered while do A quick though emotional read of Elizabeth Renzetti's personal and professional experiences with misogyny, though she does write a little also about the extra hurdles and barriers in place for women of colour and those in the LGBTQ community. And this is written from a North American perspective, so there isn't much about women throughout the world. That said, Renzetti's does cover, in an accessible manner, what it was like growing up and working as a journalist and what she encountered while doing so.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A quick read about sexism and the lives of women with some interesting observations and insights. I found myself agreeing with a lot of the author had to say... but that the book didn't have all that much new to say. As with many books like this, I found this to be kind of an echo chamber -- yes, I agreed with a lot of what Renzetti had to say, but I'm not one of the ones whose mind needs changing, who needs convincing to join her side. I don't mean to direct these comments at this book specific A quick read about sexism and the lives of women with some interesting observations and insights. I found myself agreeing with a lot of the author had to say... but that the book didn't have all that much new to say. As with many books like this, I found this to be kind of an echo chamber -- yes, I agreed with a lot of what Renzetti had to say, but I'm not one of the ones whose mind needs changing, who needs convincing to join her side. I don't mean to direct these comments at this book specifically, but it has made me think more about whether I'll pick up similar books in the future, and is symptomatic of this sub-genre (or whatever you want to call it) as a whole. I recently got Misogynation: The True Scale of Sexism out of the library and took it straight back after only reading the introduction. Because I knew that the content would just further dispirit me - I'm not someone who needs to stop being misogynistic or change my behaviour, and I realised that reading it would just make me more frustrated at how things still aren't changing, with regard to street harassment, workplace sexism and the like. Authors of these types of books are preaching to the choir, and unfortunately the people who really need to change the way they look at things or are part of the problem are unlikely to ever pick up a book on the topic. I didn't mean for this review to turn into a mini-rant but writing out my thoughts just made me think about all of these things. This is a well-written and at times amusing collection of essays about the lives of women and girls, the things we experience and the challenges we deal with in today's society. I'm just not 100% convinced on how necessary it was.

  3. 5 out of 5

    A Lib Tech Reads

    Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls Elizabeth Renzetti Rating: 4/5 Note:Special thanks to House of Anansi for providing an ARC for review. I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation of Elizabeth Renzetti's essays on feminism. There was never a moment where I felt like I was being told off for not rolling up my sleeves, picking up my picket sign, and shouting at the government through a loudspeaker about the injustice many women have to face. Instead, Renzetti's work i Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls Elizabeth Renzetti Rating: 4/5 Note:Special thanks to House of Anansi for providing an ARC for review. I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation of Elizabeth Renzetti's essays on feminism. There was never a moment where I felt like I was being told off for not rolling up my sleeves, picking up my picket sign, and shouting at the government through a loudspeaker about the injustice many women have to face. Instead, Renzetti's work is meant to create more awareness about questions you should ask yourself, regardless of what gender you identify as, about women's roles and influences in politics (and many other industries dominated by men) and social media. In a society where every woman is being told that they're either being too much of a feminist or not doing enough as one to support our fellow woman, it is difficult to choose a nice balance in the face of such criticism. However, Renzetti does a wonderful job highlighting the progress many resilient women have made throughout the ages. With every issue such as online bullying, harassment in the workforce or the misogynistic dialogue of an ignorant being, the focus remains on the positive that also comes in hand: women refusing to back down or be silenced and scared into submission. This was an uplifting and very humorous read that includes short anecdotes of Renzetti's own tenacious mother and letters to her children. She's unafraid to touch upon topics like game gate and white feminism (even calling herself out!) I was highly anticipating this book and am so appreciative the publisher's sent an ARC to me. This is one I'll be recommending to students.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amber Daugherty

    I finished this book and immediately felt like I'd just made a new best friend - happy, optimistic and understood. It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to read about other women's experiences so that we know we are not alone. One essay in Shrewed talks about that asshole voice in your head that tries to talk you out of moving forward, and offers advice for how to tell it to shut the hell up. Another essay talks about how achieving 'balance' isn't aspirational because all of the ama I finished this book and immediately felt like I'd just made a new best friend - happy, optimistic and understood. It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to read about other women's experiences so that we know we are not alone. One essay in Shrewed talks about that asshole voice in your head that tries to talk you out of moving forward, and offers advice for how to tell it to shut the hell up. Another essay talks about how achieving 'balance' isn't aspirational because all of the amazing life moments happen when we're floating, flying, unbalanced. Women are incredible and we need more than ever to lift each other up and learn from one another. I would recommend this book to any and every woman who's been struggling - especially this past year - or looking for suggestions on how to change the status quo. Buy this for your friends, mothers, sisters, daughters and most importantly yourself. Elizabeth Renzetti has created a manual, a tool, a manifesto -- and you're going to want to read it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tara Million

    I really enjoyed reading this collection of feminist essays. They were interesting, well written, funny, and thought provoking. I hadn't heard of Elizabeth Renzetti before I read her book but I'll certainly keep an eye out for articles by her now. I thought the essay on that self doubting voice in your head and how it puts you down and prevents you from trying things was really good. It's nice to know other women hear that voice too! I also liked Renzetti's observations on how women compete to se I really enjoyed reading this collection of feminist essays. They were interesting, well written, funny, and thought provoking. I hadn't heard of Elizabeth Renzetti before I read her book but I'll certainly keep an eye out for articles by her now. I thought the essay on that self doubting voice in your head and how it puts you down and prevents you from trying things was really good. It's nice to know other women hear that voice too! I also liked Renzetti's observations on how women compete to see who's the busiest and use being overwhelmed with responsibilities as a badge of honour. I've certainly seen that happen and I hate that game. The essay about the recent American election was fascinating. I was appalled to read about the hate mongering that happened and the venom that was expressed towards Hillary Clinton. But it was also wonderful to read about the Women's March on Washington that followed. Overall, this is a very strong addition to feminist literature that is both fresh and modern but also pays homage to establised feminist works. I suspect that the style of these essays would particularly appeal to younger women.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emmkay

    Delightful and witty (but also sometimes very moving) collection of feminist essays. Not new ground, but enjoyable, thought-provoking, timely - that good stuff. Highlights included Renzetti's writing about her mother (a nurse and single parent in the 70s and, from the sounds of it, a real hoot in her 80s), her interviews with interesting women including PD James, and her thoughts on women in public life. Looking forward to reading some of the other books she mentions!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    A wise, witty combination of autobiography and feminism. I like how Renzetti touched (albeit briefly) on how the patriarchy also negatively impacts boys, and how we need (and how we white women are finally waking up to) intersectionality in feminism. It was a quick, engrossing read and I laughed out loud a few times, which is always a bonus in my book. *Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Niamh

    The title of this book is rather misleading. It's a grand comment to say that you'll look at the lives of every woman and every girl, particularly as many of these essays pertain to white, cisgender ladies. Whilst you believe you're going to be examining key issues in the feminist debate that affect women and girls across the globe, you are instead getting some essays that fit this category and a whole lot that don't. That's not to say that this book is bad- it isn't. It's okay. There are some e The title of this book is rather misleading. It's a grand comment to say that you'll look at the lives of every woman and every girl, particularly as many of these essays pertain to white, cisgender ladies. Whilst you believe you're going to be examining key issues in the feminist debate that affect women and girls across the globe, you are instead getting some essays that fit this category and a whole lot that don't. That's not to say that this book is bad- it isn't. It's okay. There are some essays that are rather brilliant in their own way; I found her examination of a post-2016 election ponder on Hillary Clinton interesting and inspiring. But many are just long, rambling stories about people in her life, about her mother, her son, her husband, her daughter. She talks about the women she's interviewed before, but there's no meaning to it. What this essay collection lacks is a genuine structure. There's no through line in the book, nothing that truly connects each essay except a flimsy notion towards feminism. The essays feel disconnected and impersonal at times and you never feel as though you've actually connected with the subjects at hand. I often found myself wondering what the point of each essay was and why it was included in a book that had touted itself as an examination of womanhood. If you plan to reach for an essay collection about feminism or even about the female experience, I would point you in the direction of someone like Roxane Gay, Sady Doyle or a collection like 'I Call Myself A Feminist' instead of this one.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    3.5 stars. Well written look at feminism in 2017. This book is at times both discouraging and encouraging (and also, quite funny from time to time). All in all an interesting book, but really nothing terriby new - sadly.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex Cook

    I come away from this book more frustrated than I had thought I would. As many other reviewers have mentioned, this book exists as a kind of echo chamber, telling the readers things we mostly already know if we are somewhat in-the-loop in regards to mainstream feminism. I have not lived as a woman, however, so these essays/mini memoirs give me a little insight into what it must be like, which I can appreciate. Before I start the criticism in earnest, I want to state how much I appreciate Renzetti I come away from this book more frustrated than I had thought I would. As many other reviewers have mentioned, this book exists as a kind of echo chamber, telling the readers things we mostly already know if we are somewhat in-the-loop in regards to mainstream feminism. I have not lived as a woman, however, so these essays/mini memoirs give me a little insight into what it must be like, which I can appreciate. Before I start the criticism in earnest, I want to state how much I appreciate Renzetti's writing style as a whole. I found it easy to read, and her narratives were fun. I enjoyed the essays and the new perspective it provided me, and for that, I am thankful. However, my main gripe is how much the author attempts to tote her book as essays on feminism for all women, instead of just for her. It appears to me as if she is being inclusive to obtain a broader audience instead of being inclusive because she truly believes that's what the future of feminism is. Most obviously, on the cover is a woman of color flexing her arm. Looking at a photo of the author, she is very clearly white, and using a person of color to represent her work seems disingenuous. However, I will cede that this could possibly be a publishing decision that Renzetti did not make herself, and so this alone would not be worth much concern. However, within the text, there are multiple times where Renzetti uses language and examples that appear to be at best not genuine, and at worst transphobic. For example, right after applauding members of the LGBTQ+ community on an issue, she might say something about how women can stand in solidarity as a community in relation to issues regarding birth control, abortion, and people with vaginas in general. I acknowledge that people with vaginas have a rough time with health issues (to put it mildly), but it must be recognized that not all women have vaginas, and some men have vaginas, not to mention intersex folks who face a wholly different set of issues outside of normal ideas of gender and genitalia, and so the rhetoric around these things ought to be presented in a more respectful manner, in my opinion. In relation to transgender issues, I also am not a fan of how she devotes a long passage of the book to supporting Germaine Greer. To her credit, Renzetti notes the controversy Greer has attracted and openly disagrees with Greer's opinions within the book. However, she still regards Greer as a personal hero. I must acknowledge that no one is perfect, but this seems like an error grave enough on Greer's part to warrant omission from Renzetti's book. In total, I appreciate the net positive this book has added to my life and to my understanding of the human condition. I just feel as if this book continued some of the outdated traditions of older feminist ideologies and fell into a trap in that sense. I still look forward to what she might publish next.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Mantas

    A very interesting collection of essays. I enjoyed this book immensely, but was a little let down by the final essay. I did like what she share about other women who gave commencement speeches but found hers a little drab. I think she could do better. But then maybe she didn't want to give away the good stuff before she got asked to give the actual speech. One day maybe that will be true. Maybe she will give that speech and I hope like anything we get more women in leadership, not just in politi A very interesting collection of essays. I enjoyed this book immensely, but was a little let down by the final essay. I did like what she share about other women who gave commencement speeches but found hers a little drab. I think she could do better. But then maybe she didn't want to give away the good stuff before she got asked to give the actual speech. One day maybe that will be true. Maybe she will give that speech and I hope like anything we get more women in leadership, not just in politics but all over the world. So many spaces for women leaders to help make good change happen. I only worry about her analogy to the futuristic comedy sketch in the second last chapter that instead of it taking only minutes to finish the summit, there won't even be a summit to have. I rarely think of myself as a a pessimistic individual, but the way of the future seems more like we are doomed and if anything, once a women is in power, all the shambles and disgrace of past governement will come crashing down on her head with them yelling "it's her fault." Even though it will just be the mess they left us. I will try to be an optimist for my god-daughter, and continue to care for the environment for her to grow old in, but I cannot fully image a rosy future with some of the important piece Elizabeth points out.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Elizabeth Renzetti, on imaging if she’d be invited to give a convocation address: “The graduates of tomorrow — particularly the women, at whom this book is aimed — should be thinking about living large. Yes, that’s what I’d talk about, if only some enterprising college administrator would ask me to expound on the topic....Do not allow yourself to be diminished. Expand like a flower, like a heated gas, like a beautiful rising loaf. Expand into yourself, and never apologize for it.” Once this book Elizabeth Renzetti, on imaging if she’d be invited to give a convocation address: “The graduates of tomorrow — particularly the women, at whom this book is aimed — should be thinking about living large. Yes, that’s what I’d talk about, if only some enterprising college administrator would ask me to expound on the topic....Do not allow yourself to be diminished. Expand like a flower, like a heated gas, like a beautiful rising loaf. Expand into yourself, and never apologize for it.” Once this book gets around, she will, undoubtedly, be invited. Clearheaded and calm, but with passion seeping through, Renzetti, a long-time columnist for The Globe and Mail, expounds on many topics, always with interest. One strongly feminist white woman’s perspective.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Harris

    I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of essays about the challenges women face in society. Highlights include an analysis of work life balance and how being busy becomes a status symbol in itself, the complicated cultural attitudes regarding women's ambition, and the literal cost of being female as products marketed toward women often cost substantially more than equivalents for men. Renzetti's own life experiences are woven into the text. The book ends with inspiring advice for women and girls, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of essays about the challenges women face in society. Highlights include an analysis of work life balance and how being busy becomes a status symbol in itself, the complicated cultural attitudes regarding women's ambition, and the literal cost of being female as products marketed toward women often cost substantially more than equivalents for men. Renzetti's own life experiences are woven into the text. The book ends with inspiring advice for women and girls, which I hope Renzetti eventually gets to deliver as a commencement address.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Loretta

    Very nice to have a Canadian entry in my list of feminist rant/memoir type books. I read this on the plane on my way home from the Iceland Writers Retreat, having had a workshop with Renzetti. Both the workshop and the book were awesome. The essays are mostly tight, snappy, with sharp observation and humor. I especially loved the "letter to a younger me", which acknowledges a lot of the failings of white feminism, and the last essay in the collection which deals with the post-Trump election hang Very nice to have a Canadian entry in my list of feminist rant/memoir type books. I read this on the plane on my way home from the Iceland Writers Retreat, having had a workshop with Renzetti. Both the workshop and the book were awesome. The essays are mostly tight, snappy, with sharp observation and humor. I especially loved the "letter to a younger me", which acknowledges a lot of the failings of white feminism, and the last essay in the collection which deals with the post-Trump election hangover.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    It's nice that we both more or less agree on Sam Neill in My Brilliant Career. ^_^ . . . Unfair things I realized (or at least became more cognizant of) while reading this: 1) Men spend great wads of money on entertaining themselves (cars/trucks/bikes/ATVs/snowmobiles/&c, TVs, computers, booze &c, games/video games, movies, TV, gadgets, things that happened to be on sale even though they didn't need them, anything advertised on TV that is not a baby-care or feminine hygiene product); women spend gr It's nice that we both more or less agree on Sam Neill in My Brilliant Career. ^_^ . . . Unfair things I realized (or at least became more cognizant of) while reading this: 1) Men spend great wads of money on entertaining themselves (cars/trucks/bikes/ATVs/snowmobiles/&c, TVs, computers, booze &c, games/video games, movies, TV, gadgets, things that happened to be on sale even though they didn't need them, anything advertised on TV that is not a baby-care or feminine hygiene product); women spend great wads of money on looking good for and making themselves attractive to men (clothes and shoes, accessories, makeup, miracle serums/creams/elixirs of youth, perfume and scents and deodorants, hair removal, hair care, nail care, injections, nips & tucks, implants, diets, exercise classes and equipment, subscriptions to magazines that dictate style and give tips on catching a man/pleasing your man/looking good for your man/bringing slippers and bourbon when your man comes home from work/&c... = hundreds of billions of dollars annually worldwide). IMAGINE if men earned less than women but spent hundreds of billions of dollars (annually, worldwide) on looking good for women, and women earned more than men and could spend their extra cash on entertaining themselves! Wow! Of course that dichotomy is oversimplified, and everyone spends money on other things, like food and rent and taxes (and perhaps men are expected to pay for those things, in many households. Especially ones where they are the primary or only breadwinner, go figure). I suppose I'm just particularly bitter when I think back over the past few months and compare my purchases with those of the men in my life. The generalization looks like it has some truth to it. Maybe it's my fault and maybe I shouldn't cave to external pressures and maybe I should retreat to a lighthouse with my cat to live in blissful solitude, far from the madding crowd. 2) Women are punished for misbehaving; men are supported, encouraged, applauded for doing so. ("Boys will be boys!" "She was asking for it.") 3) I believe I am worthwhile; I know I am intelligent and capable. Because I am a woman, that makes me a feminist. If it's a dirty word—well, it's not the first one I've been called.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This has really been the year of reading books of essays by women, especially books of essays decrying the absolute shit state of our world, and stressing the importance of feminism. And thank god for that. Renzetti's book reminds me of Feminasty, in that it tackles the really grim stuff with a wry, whip-smart humour, which seems so necessary right now. If we don't laugh, we might cry. So we laugh.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Saira

    I started this book before I had the time to read it, so ignore how long it took for me to finish. This made me feel angry, and sad and hopeful and bitter and empowered along with a whole other spectrum of emotions. It isn’t the best thing to read before bed and I need a break from any more feminist essays for a while because my heart can’t handle it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Shaw

    Insightful and hilarious, just how I like my feminist essays! Loved the chapter on politics, in particular.

  19. 5 out of 5

    ❀ Susan G

    Excellent collection of essays about feminism and the author's experience as a woman in journalism. A more fulsome review to come.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    A thoughtful, feminist, fun set of essays. Particularly enjoyable for the fact they are coming from a Canadian author and mostly Canadian perspective. I also enjoy the reading list that could be built from books mentioned within the book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Excellent read on the female experience in Canada, which even manages to blend accuracy with wit and enjoyment while discussing topics that can be emotionally trying for even the most resilient of us.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Perks

    I always look forward to renzetti’s columns in the G&M, this was book was an absolute pleasure to read. It is a fairly quick read, even for someone like me who never seems to have time to read. It is enjoyable, empowering, and thought provoking. Just read it, you’ll be happy you did. I always look forward to renzetti’s columns in the G&M, this was book was an absolute pleasure to read. It is a fairly quick read, even for someone like me who never seems to have time to read. It is enjoyable, empowering, and thought provoking. Just read it, you’ll be happy you did.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janet Hutchinson

    Elizabeth Renzetti is one of the major reasons why we continue our Saturday Globe. These essays are awesome as always, although they start my blood to boiling (again and still). I had the pleasure of having dinner with her when she came to Calgary, and she is as witty in person as on paper.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anne Logan

    I know some women may hear of a book about feminism and think ‘why do we need another one of these, we’re all equal!’ but it’s not until you read books like this that you realize we still have so far to go. If that doesn’t sound appealing then maybe this will: Renzetti writes Shrewed as if she’s talking to a close girlfriend; you will laugh and cry as you work your way through these delightfully entertaining essays. The essays are only really linked by theme; women and our role in this world. Som I know some women may hear of a book about feminism and think ‘why do we need another one of these, we’re all equal!’ but it’s not until you read books like this that you realize we still have so far to go. If that doesn’t sound appealing then maybe this will: Renzetti writes Shrewed as if she’s talking to a close girlfriend; you will laugh and cry as you work your way through these delightfully entertaining essays. The essays are only really linked by theme; women and our role in this world. Some are about women Renzetti has interviewed, others are deeply personal, but they all contain a subtle lesson about what it is to be female today. Her observations aren’t groundbreaking, but this is why I connected so easily to her authorial voice. This may be a controversial statment, but pronouncements about being ‘female’ in this world are rarely unique; they simply aren’t voiced clearly enough, or often enough for people to take a more serious look at the inequalities women face each and every day. And I know as I type this, many women will claim they face no such inequalities, but that simply isn’t true; we are just used to them, and dare I say, comfortable with them, so that many people (men AND women) don’t see the need to fight for further equality. Renzetti deals with one subject in particular that I believe has been avoided, or simply overlooked in the past, and this is the inequality within the women’s movement or the ‘whiteness’ of the most visible feminism. Shrewed makes the very astute, and (for some) hard to swallow argument that we need to ‘pass over the grievance microphone’ (p. 207 of ARC) to women of colour, or quite simply those without the privileges we enjoy or take for granted. In some cases, even turn down a chance to speak publicly if someone with a less-publicized voice can take your place instead. A few months ago, I read another book about feminism that Renzetti references, which again, stresses the importance of elevating every women’s voice, not just our own, which seems like a simple yet important solution to this problem. Being a young mother myself, Renzetti’s thoughts on motherhood and work life balance rang true for me, and as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, this always gives me as sense of enormous relief when I realize I’m having the same thoughts as many other mothers out there. She nails one of my anxieties perfectly: “It’s scary to step off the professional carousel, however briefly, and to know that it will not slow down for your return” (p. 82 of ARC). By doing what’s best for me and my family (which is by no means the best way for anyone else) is the way I’m asserting my autonomy at this point in life. This phase will pass, and yet, I can’t help but wonder if the growing number of stay-at-home dads are having the same existential crisis. Anyone care to share? Although this review is turning out to have quite a serious tone, I do want to stress the fact that this book is extremely funny. I loved reading every essay, even when it dealt with scary or sad subject matter because the clever little witticisms and self-deprecating humour are just too fun to not indulge in. Renzetti is a journalist with the Globe and Mail, and I’m making an effort to seek out her writing from now on because I’ve learned so much from her in the best kind of way. To read my other reviews please visit my blog: https://ivereadthis.com/

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lex

    Shrewed is a wonderful and powerful collection of essays about women that examines questions like "why are there so few women in politics?" and "why is public space, whether it's the street or social media, still so inhospitable to women?" written by journalist Elizabeth Renzetti. I found this collection of essays to be insightful, empowering, funny and informational and it's Canadian focused, which is rarely the case, and also why I feel I enjoyed it so much. Within Shrewed you'll also find grea Shrewed is a wonderful and powerful collection of essays about women that examines questions like "why are there so few women in politics?" and "why is public space, whether it's the street or social media, still so inhospitable to women?" written by journalist Elizabeth Renzetti. I found this collection of essays to be insightful, empowering, funny and informational and it's Canadian focused, which is rarely the case, and also why I feel I enjoyed it so much. Within Shrewed you'll also find great recommendations on other feminist content like articles and books. One of the essays that really stood out to me is "The Way of the Harasser", it's so strong and so relatable. It focuses on women being harassed and it really shines the light on it doesn't matter what a woman is wearing or what she looks like because there's always men that feel it's acceptable to approach or catcall women about how they look and if we don't engage we're sometimes verbally assaulted for being rude. It also covers being a woman with a voice on social media vs a man with a voice on social media and so much more. Within this essay, it mentions a video called "Ten Hours of Waking as a woman in New York City" released in 2015, which I had never watched or heard of before but it's so relatable and I feel more people should know about it. Once I finished watching "Ten Hours of Walking as a Women in New York City" I watched a couple related videos and landed on "Dad Reacts Daughter Being Catcalled" and "Sons React To Their Mothers Getting Catcalled". In "Sons React to Their Mothers Getting Catcalled" one of the mothers mentions how as women walking alone we're seen as unguarded and that video was filmed in 2015! A little bit scary and awful to think about but true. Another one of the mothers mentions why there are times she doesn't dress up when she would want to because she doesn't feel like being stopped multiple times for her number, etc. Shrewed is a great book to pick up and I definitely recommend it especially if you're interested in reading a feminist book that's Canadian focus or even just interested in reading a feminist book period. *A copy of this book was provided to me by House of Anansi Press*

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Funny, quick, and all-around good. Elizabeth Renzetti takes an approach to the topic of feminism in a personal, vignette-ish fashion that really contributes to the topic in this very serious world. Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls is a little on-the-nose in its subtitle: it is indeed “wry,” but we could have figured that out for ourselves! Nonetheless, the book punches through a whole lot and it feels like you’re sitting down for coffee (and a cigarette) w Funny, quick, and all-around good. Elizabeth Renzetti takes an approach to the topic of feminism in a personal, vignette-ish fashion that really contributes to the topic in this very serious world. Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls is a little on-the-nose in its subtitle: it is indeed “wry,” but we could have figured that out for ourselves! Nonetheless, the book punches through a whole lot and it feels like you’re sitting down for coffee (and a cigarette) with the author at the end of a long day talking about everything infuriating on the news and everything on your mind that’s been itching to get out to a friend who will listen. Little else to say except READ IT!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Milana M (acouplereads)

    Shrewd is a funny, witty collection of short stories every woman needs to read. A sort of lightness came over me as I reflected on the stories from all the powerful women she interviewed. This is a book that all women need to read! We need to lift each other up and form connections by sharing our experiences and this is where we can start. I was nodding along to every page and feeding my confidence. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be shoving it at anyone who will listen to me. Grab a copy Shrewd is a funny, witty collection of short stories every woman needs to read. A sort of lightness came over me as I reflected on the stories from all the powerful women she interviewed. This is a book that all women need to read! We need to lift each other up and form connections by sharing our experiences and this is where we can start. I was nodding along to every page and feeding my confidence. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be shoving it at anyone who will listen to me. Grab a copy because every woman should know that she is not alone in this world. My ask of Renzetti is that she write a Shrewd 2.0 with more written on the experiences of women in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and South America. Basically, we need more! **Thank you House of Anasi for sending me a copy of the book, it was exactly what I needed at this time in my life.**

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    A collection of essays exploring feminism and the current situation in the western world, involving the life of the author, Elizabeth Renzetti, who is a columnist for the Globe and Mail. Interesting, relevant, well researched and occasionally funny.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Wow! This book was well-written but also a tough read, tough because of the subject matter rather than the writing. The topic is a complicated one at any time, but this book was written, compiled, and published around the time that our neighbours to the south elected a misogynistic, xenophobic, sexual predator as the president of their country. I read it at the time the government of that president was putting children into cages and others into concentration camps, when states in the country we Wow! This book was well-written but also a tough read, tough because of the subject matter rather than the writing. The topic is a complicated one at any time, but this book was written, compiled, and published around the time that our neighbours to the south elected a misogynistic, xenophobic, sexual predator as the president of their country. I read it at the time the government of that president was putting children into cages and others into concentration camps, when states in the country were passing more and more draconian laws restricting women's reproductive rights, a rapist had been appointed to their supreme court, and more women had come forward with more credible allegations of sexual assault by that president... Oh, and I was also reading about women's rights and the fits and starts of the women's movement in this book, which included chapters on Clinton and how she lost the election, in part due to sexism. Yes, this was a tough read... And no, while the horrendous happenings among our neighbours to the south and their government were the subject of one of the essays in this book, and were mentioned at various other parts, this context was not the specific focus of this book. I appreciated the variety of topics covered by Renzetti, e.g. insectionality and the necessity and moral imperative to include marginalized women more fully in the feminist movement, perspectives of older women and of younger ones, including men as allies, etc. I also appreciated Renzetti's honest look at her own role in the feminist movement, including her own naiveté when she was young and her struggles along the way. Overall, this is a solid book on women and girls from a feminist perspective. I will read other work by this author.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls is an anthology of essays written by Elizabeth Renzetti and focused on the many aspects of feminism and how it has changed and evolved and still changing and evolving, since the movement started. It is a collection of sixteen personal essays, which Renzetti shares her insights into different aspects of feminism great and small. For the most part, I rather liked most of the contributions in this anthology. It shows how far fe Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls is an anthology of essays written by Elizabeth Renzetti and focused on the many aspects of feminism and how it has changed and evolved and still changing and evolving, since the movement started. It is a collection of sixteen personal essays, which Renzetti shares her insights into different aspects of feminism great and small. For the most part, I rather liked most of the contributions in this anthology. It shows how far feminism has come since its initial movements and how much further it still needs to grow in Renzetti's pointed and witty manner. She shows all the feminism crossroads that it has overcome and would need to overcome in the near future. I liked the essay, where Renzetti pointed out that feminism in the past has met the needs of the cisgender, straight, white women and that to grow and to represent women truly it has to be more inclusive. I also liked that she had one essay on how to raise boys in a balanced manner, because that was equally as important of raising strong girls. All in all, Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls is a wonderfully written book of personal essays about Renzetti's observations about the changing face of feminism throughout the many years it has ventured onward.

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