Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit

Rating: 3.5/5

This, too, was not the book I expected. For whatever reason, this showed up in Overdrive under Humor so I thought, “Sure! I’ve been reading pretty depressing books lately, so give me funny.”

Ha, joke was on me 😬

Maybe the first three minutes of this were funny, and then that IMMEDIATELY spiraled into gut-wrenchingly depressing and sickening stories – stories about women (and children) everywhere in the world being talked down to, assaulted, raped, gang raped, taken advantage of, violated, and otherwise abused in every way possible. I’m definitely not going to recount any of those here, but there was just enough detail in them to make me want to stop reading; but I forged ahead because Solnit is so relentless in her verbal persecution of these kinds of men that I had to follow along. It was awful. It made me more aware of just how depraved people can be, of just how inhuman men can be towards women they view as theirs or objects to control.

After those initial essays, though, the writing dropped off a bit. It digressed, meandered, took a little stroll down all sorts of alleyways and just lost enough focus that I did too. That second half was a slog to read through, but the first half was razor sharp. I’d recommend with severe reservations – consider whether the reader can make it through this first half, which is the real jewel of the book.

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