The Bitch Is Back edited by Cathi Hanauer

The Bitch Is Back edited by Cathi HanauerThe Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier by Cathi Hanauer
Published by William Morrow on September 27, 2016
Pages: 368
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours for review consideration.
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five-stars

More than a decade after the New York Times bestselling anthology The Bitch in the House spoke up loud and clear for a generation of young women, nine of the original contributors are back—along with sixteen captivating new voices—sharing their ruminations from an older, stronger, and wiser perspective about love, sex, work, family, independence, body-image, health, and aging: the critical flash points of women’s lives today.
"Born out of anger," the essays in The Bitch in the House chronicled the face of womanhood at the beginning of a new millennium. Now those funny, smart, passionate contributors—today less bitter and resentful, and more confident, competent, and content—capture the spirit of postfeminism in this equally provocative, illuminating, and compelling companion anthology.
Having aged into their forties, fifties, and sixties, these "bitches"—bestselling authors, renowned journalists, and critically acclaimed novelists—are back . . . and better than ever. In The Bitch Is Back, Cathi Hanauer, Kate Christensen, Sarah Crichton, Debora Spar, Ann Hood, Veronica Chambers, and nineteen other women offer unique views on womanhood and feminism today. Some of the "original bitches" (OBs) revisit their earlier essays to reflect on their previous selves. All reveal how their lives have changed in the intervening years—whether they stayed coupled, left marriages, or had affairs; developed cancer or other physical challenges; coped with partners who strayed, died, or remained faithful; became full-time wage earners or homemakers; opened up their marriages; remained childless or became parents; or experienced other meaningful life transitions.
As a "new wave" of feminists begins to take center stage, this powerful, timely collection sheds a much-needed light on both past and present, offering understanding, compassion, and wisdom for modern women’s lives, all the while pointing toward the exciting possibilities of tomorrow.

 

The Bitch Is Back combines nine of the original essayists from The Bitch in the House with a slew of new voices. I hadn’t read (or even heard of) the first book, which people seemed to either love or completely hate, judging from its Goodreads reviews. Having read the first book isn’t a prerequisite for The Bitch Is Back, though. The new voices are their own, and at the beginning of any essay by one of the original nine contributors, there’s a very quick summary of her previous essay.

The Bitch Is Back is fierce, and I loved every single essay in the collection. It covers such a variety of women, a huge range of life experiences. I was laughing as I read, sometimes crying. I was always cheering these women on.

I just hit my 40’s this year, so the timing of this book was perfect for me personally. These essays, as diverse as they are, share a common theme. They are about the strength of midlife—claiming taboos, shedding societal expectations and baggage, not giving a fuck, making peace with who we no longer are (as Erin White puts it), assertiveness, tapping into and acting on what we need, what we want for our lives.

Reading this was downright meditative at times. My favorite quote comes from Lynn Darling:

“I think it is time to live not as I “ought” — doing what’s appropriate, adhering to convention — but as I must, open to everything, wishing for nothing, walking in the high grass, with nowhere to go, with everything to experience. Surely that would be a good life.”

Hell yes.

 

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Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book. Check out what other readers have to say about The Bitch is Back by visiting other stops on the tour. Also, check out the publisher’s book page to read an excerpt, listen to an audio clip, or even get a bitch badge!

five-stars
  • You know, I KNOW I read the original collection, but I can’t remember one single thing about it now. I’ve heard good things about this new collection, though, and definitely want to keep my eyes peeled for it!

  • HeatherTLC

    “Fierce” is the perfect word for this collection. I can see it provoking lots of great discussion between women!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.