Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Review: Be Awesome, Hadley Freeman

Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies

Hadley Freeman

Fourth Estate, 2013

This is one of those rare books I was both racing to finish (because it's so good) and trying to savour (ditto). I also totally interrupted the most serious five minutes of an episode of The Returned (also awesome, by the bye) that my housemate was watching by cackling like a loon at Hadley's particularly excellent parody of all the dating advice you'll ever receive as a woman, ever. OH LOOK, YOU'RE TURNING INTO A CRONE. MARRY NOW, MARRY NOW, MARRY NOW.

Be Awesome is a mixture of chapters on various different topics - some serious (eating disorders and the way the media 'reports' them), some thought-provoking (women's bodies and the way there's pretty much always something 'wrong' with them - particularly if they're not pregnant!!), and some, for me, particularly ripe with feelings of vindication, not least the chapter on what to do when you're friends start having kids and (adopt patronising tone now) "growing up". There are lots of nuggets of awesomeness in here, but I am a big fan of this one: don't ever define yourself by your age, and don't ever listen to your friends if they utter those dastardly words: "we're getting too old for this". (And why would you spend your money on camping in some mud for a weekend, not being able to shower, along with a load of other people who haven't had a shower, when you could have a mortgage?*)

So if you couldn't tell, part of the reason I loved this book so much was that it made me want to read it out to people and go "YES! THIS!" a lot, even though when people write "THIS" on Twitter it aggravates me unnecessarily. There are lists of awesome films (all of which pass the Bechdel Test) and awesome books, chapters that examine the beauty industry and stupid dating advice and media expectations of women, numerous references to The Princess Bride and almost as many recommendations of Curtis Sittenfeld's books as I myself force upon people in an average month. The whole thing was kind of like having a chat with your favourite, most brilliant friend, and I can't recommend it enough.

*The answer: because THIS feels infinite.

Overall rating: 9/10

Book source: Received as a gift from my mum.


  1. I've never heard of this book before Kit, but it sounds like so much fun! I love books which you can't stop reading but you want to savour every single page! Thanks for putting it on my radar! :)

  2. This book sounds great - I just added it to my Goodreads shelf. I am married, but my husband and I are not looking to have kids anytime soon (if ever). However, suddenly all our friends are having babies. There are so many other things I want to do!

  3. I haven't heard of this one at all, but it seems to hit all the right notes. I'll have to try to squeeze it in this summer for sure! :)


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