Next book

PAY UP

THE FUTURE OF WOMEN AND WORK (AND WHY IT'S DIFFERENT THAN YOU THINK)

A disappointing take on what America’s working women need.

The founder of Girls Who Code calls for a “radical reinvention” of the American workplace in ways that would help mothers and other women.

Saujani writes that when she wrote Brave, Not Perfect (2019), she “was still in the throes of promoting the feminist propaganda of having it all via leaning in.” Her view changed during the pandemic—which exposed social and emotional fault lines in her life and others’ and which forced 12 million women from the labor force—and here, she adjusts her course. Expanding an essay for The Hill that called for a “Marshall Plan for Moms,” the author proposes a sweeping array of solutions in an uninspired book comprised of part rant, part self-help, and part “call to action” rooted in three “critical public policies”: affordable child care, paid parental leave, and cash payments to parents. Many ideas appear on bulleted lists called a “Playbook for Employers” and “What Women Can Do,” and while some are worthy, too many are overfamiliar, underdeveloped, or unimaginative. (Managers should “Lead by example,” and women should “Get enough sleep,” an idea that may seem ludicrously impractical to any mother of a 6-month-old.) The writing is merely serviceable, and many of Saujani’s ideas are surprisingly conservative or tame. She never suggests, for example, that working mothers might benefit from joining a labor union or pushing for a higher minimum wage. Worse, while Saujani pays lip service to second-wave feminists’ efforts, she slights them in subtle and seemingly ill-informed ways. For example, she writes that feminists “forgot” to work for “equality in the home via compensation for the unpaid labor we do.” In fact, they fought for it on many fronts, including, among numerous other examples, the Wages for Housework campaign. Saujani mentions her important work with Girls Who Code only briefly; a more enlightening book would have more deeply explored what that experience taught her.

A disappointing take on what America’s working women need.

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982191-57-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: One Signal/Atria

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Winner


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Next book

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Winner


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Next book

BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Close Quickview