Genres: Non-fiction, Feminism
This gorgeous edition of this book was published last year (2018) and I remember having seen it in Emma Watson’s feminist book club Our Shared Shelf, which is always a big plus for me. Since I’ve committed this year to reading more non-fiction feminist works, I immediately bought this.
In All about love, bell hooks explains the definition of love and how it gets constantly misunderstood for affection. She talks about love in modern society and modern expectations of it, and how we need to rethink our approach to loving others and ourselves.
I did not know exactly what to expect of this book when I started it, honestly, and I couldn’t help but compare it to other non-fiction feminist works. This book struck me as having the same vibe as How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, but not so trans-exclusive. Each chapter has the author’s thoughts on different aspects of love, from friendship, to romance, forgiveness and the divine. It was a strange read for me, a mixture of gorgeous quotes from poets and other authors and personal experience from bell hooks herself, but talked about in such a inflexible way that it left me feeling like I was being lectured on something without fully comprehending why or agreeing with it.
The book has definitely a strong religious undertone, lots of talk about soul and personal anecdotes of the author going to church, and being brought up in a religious family, etc. I don’t normally like books like that, and this unfortunately wasn’t an exception. For a 1990s book, this is certainly mind-blowing and opens doors for people who want to know more about feminism without the jargon, which is why it reminded me a bit of How to be a Woman. But it left me wanting more. I wanted to know more research and numbers, more facts to endorse the topics she talked about. I was never sure where she got her facts from, whether from personal experience, from talking to people, from reading the news, from reading research?
But this was not a problem when I read Women Who Run With Wolves, where each chapter starts with a myth (so, definitely something that has not actually happened) and then goes on to the more scientific approach of psychoanalysis. All about love touched into the topic of psychoanalysis and how the teachings on love we get as children affect that, but this book doesn’t stick to that and instead is kind of everywhere.
I got some interesting ideas out of it and it definitely made me think, but I didn’t like this book much and certainly won’t re-read it. I appreciate very much what this book represents and what it does for exposing the emotional work women put into relationships, and how we confuse affection and love, how we’re sold the old “men and women think differently and we must adapt to that” bullshit, but that is where my appreciation for this book ends.
I recommend it for people who are starting to get into feminism. This WILL blow your mind! But by now I’ve read so much that there weren’t too many new things to get out of it, and I didn’t enjoy the writing itself. So three stars it is!
Have you read this feminist book? What did you think?