BOOK REVIEW: The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

This book was comforting and honest at times. But it wasn’t so much “geek” as it was just “feminist,” in my view.

This book reads more like blog posts than essays, which is fine except some of the topics seem fleeting and time-specific. The most similar thing I’ve read is Jo Walton’s What Makes this Book So Great (which I think were actual blog posts).  Also, Hurley is very vague in how she approaches some topics, not giving them context unless you were specifically involved in the incident or aware said incident happened (like, for example, Gamergate).

I’m not so sure I agree with some of her blanket conclusions in a few of her essays; like in “Becoming What You Hate,” where she says she used to write honest reviews but holds her tongue nowadays and doesn’t read mean reviews of her own work, which I disagree on because I’m still simply  not sure what she’s talking about. She’s very “Leave authors alone!” and yet in the next sentence also very “Fine, they deserve it!” All over the place. I’m all for bypassing black and white, but I’m still not sure what her position is. I don’t think she has clear answers either, sometimes. Certainly there’s no easy answer. But at best this is just a look into her approach and thought process on the subject.

Some quotes I liked from the book:

“We live in a culture that controls people through a grim hierarchy. Anyone who’s ever been bullied in school knows exactly what it looks like, and how it seeks to keep us in our places; the folks at the top work to establish dominance and power. They are the ones who succeed, because the game is rigged in their favor. When you add onto that hierarchy the place of women in it, when it was only about fifty years ago when women couldn’t buy a house or get a credit card without her husband’s permission, it makes sense for women to make alliances with men who are bullies. Men who are bullies can protect women from other men who target them. The bully who is known to you is far less scary than the one who is not. Fetishizing that behavior when your choices are limited is not surprising.” 

“Anyone can write a book and post it on a retail platform. We’ve got far more opportunities for choice now, and though big Hollywood studios and publishers are still releasing primarily status-quo stuff, they’re changing, too. What they see is that when presented with more choices, less problematic choices, people are quite often choosing them over their messy, face-punching bullshit.” 

“But nodding and smiling gets old. It makes it easier for people to box you up and ship you off. I’m only really alive when I’m pissing people off anyway.” 

Other goodreads reviews of this book I approve:

Also, I didn’t like that most chapters started very strong, with several pages of what exactly is wrong about the topic at hand, but then ended too quickly without a solution other than “so in my book, I . . .”

Gosh I did want to like this, but a lot of the essays felt like stray blog posts, really short and divorced from context.

If your audience doesn’t get tips or advice on what to do, they will do nothing. Hurley is pretty vague about her calls to action, and I felt that they were geared more toward writers than readers. I was so fired up reading about making change, but…how can I help? This is supposed to be a revolution, we all have to fight in some way. I need to know how in order for that to happen.

Although I agree with most of what is said in this, this didn’t bring anything new to the table for me…

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