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"If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?": Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times Hardcover – March 29, 2016
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Praise for "If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?":
"Gina Barreca's essays are like dispatches from a dear friend: Wonderful, witty, heartfelt and wise - with many memorable zingers and tear inducing stingers. Her gift is one of connection and her work is relatable and true. Share this book with your sisters and your BFF (Brainy Friends and Feminists) book group." - Amy Dickinson, author of the nationally syndicated column "Ask Amy"
"If you ever find that your best gal pal isn't available, you need look no further than Barreca's book. It contains everything a good friend would provide: honesty, insight, female camaraderie, and a lot of laughs." - Rachel Dratch
"Barrecaville turns out to be a very funny place. In it, bad boyfriends are good: They remind us that, just as there are significant others, so, too, are there insignificant others. With that tiny twist of language, she seizes something that was right in front of us the whole time but we couldn’t grasp….Despite all the rowdiness, Barreca’s erudition pokes through every page. She romps across the literary landscape…” - Psychology Today
"Barreca's mix of personal essays, lists, and advice column-style interludes is laugh-out-loud funny (literally...).” - Elle's Lettres Readers’ Prize, June 2016
“[Barreca] created a beautiful, entertaining and touching essay that opens up women’s leadership issues and workforce equities and inequities in a way Sandberg’s book cannot, because the billionaire CEO writes from a different place of greater privilege and power. We hardworking women should all have this book (and Barreca’s others as well!) on our shelf, as a drop-in, cheer up, think a bit, and get back to work…” - Leadership Spirit, Carol Burbank, Ph.D.
Praise for It's Not That I'm Bitter...:
“Gina Barreca is very, very funny. For a woman.” ―Dave Barry on It's Not That I'm Bitter
“From spotting chin hairs in a rear-view mirror to finding a bra that never fits, the book is 120-mph humor!” ―Cindy Adams, The New York Post on It's Not That I'm Bitter
“Many readers, especially women, will enjoy, discuss, and reread this quick, breezy work of commentary, a book that stirs up dust long after its covers are closed.” ―Booklist on It's Not That I'm Bitter
About the Author
GINA BARRECA is nationally syndicated columnist with Tribune News Service. She's the author of It's Not That I'm Bitter, Babes in Boyland, They Used to Call Me Snow White but I Drifted and co-author of I'm With Stupid: One Man, One Woman, and 10,000 Years of Misunderstandings Between The Sexes Cleared Right Up with Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten. She's a professor of English at UConn, and a member of the Friars' Club. She grew up in Brooklyn, NY but now lives in Storrs, CT. Go figure.
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But this book is so much more that just that. I started reading the book during my regular daily train commute to work. As I was reading hilariously funny story "The Cheap Motel Backside of Facebook", I was giggling so much that passengers sitting next to me became concerned and quietly moved to other free seats on the train as soon as they became available. I was so inappropriately happy while reading the story, that I did not even realize that one of the passengers on the train in front of us was ill and we were on standby waiting for ambulance to pick up the poor soul and take him/her to the nearest hospital, while I was having a ball reading the funniest short stories I happen to come across in years. That is the power of Ms. Barreca's storytelling - it will completely transform you to HER world of reality and you will be completely oblivious of your won. For that reason for anyone who is sad, unhappy or just feels a little blue, this is a book to read that will immediately lift anyone's spirits to the point of bliss that can be as close to enlightment as possible.
Mothers should have their daughters pick up this book and have them read the chapter on relationships. No one describes bad boyfriends better that this author. And she does in a simple way that is funny and yet so very wise. If there is a man who ever wanted to understand a woman, forget about the book "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" you need to read THIS book and it will all fall to its right place. It will all finally start to make sense.
I liked the parts of the book where Ms. Barreca writes about intimate friendships, mother/daughter relationships, challenges of dealing with aging, ailing parent. Her deeply honest and personal writing of how it is to loose a mother, to be careful not to get pregnant as a young woman only to discover in her later years that she is not able to produce any. I loved every page of this 250 page book and it made me laugh, it made me think, it made me admire the courage of a talented writer who is able to put such deep wisdom in amazingly power short stories. And in the end it does not matter how personal those stories are to her, the power of them is that any living human being can related to he power of each and every one of them, because they have universal truth.
Perhaps some people can find this book to be a perfect book for female audiences, but I think that men will enjoy it just as much. On the back of the book jacket there is a quote from Dave Barry that says: "Gina Barreca is very, very funny. For a woman." One could not ask for a better compliment from a fellow writer that knows what good humor is.
You will read this book in a couple of readings because once you pick it up, you will not want to drop it off. I have highlighted portions of it that are close to my heart, such as - "hatred, disguised as lust, haunts, corrodes and seeps from one generation to the next" or "when a woman looks to a man to change her life, she looks in a wrong direction" or "friends are life's reward for getting it right" or "without independence, what's the fun of intimacy, after all?" or "remember that anybody can be in a relationship if she's willing to be on somebody else's schedule, abide by somebody else's rules, and put up with somebody else's mess. Is that what you want?" . By now you should get idea on why this book is so good. Just read it - it is not a recommendation - it is an order. For your own good.
The writing is breezy, and there are a few real gems among the merely very good essays. Her Sheryl Sandberg response stands out, for one. The only problem is that she has a few too many articles that are lists of numbered items, which in the Internet era of listicles doesn't look as good as it once did.
The only problem is the same one that plagues most collections of columns: they share an approach and point-of-view and so can blur together. Don't read too many at one sitting. Still, they give a good deal of pleasure and will definitely brighten your days if you spread them out.