by Holly Bourne (2016)
“When you fight for what you believe in, you come across a lot of obstacles. People who don’t agree with you, people who agree with you but only some bits, people who delight in ripping you down, people who are threatened by the strength of your belief.
But I was beginning to realise, the biggest hurdle to overcome was the hurdle of yourself.” – Holly Bourne, What’s A Girl Gotta Do?
OH. MY. GOODNESS. GRACIOUS. ME.
This book is just AMAZING and so uplifting and just basically needs to be read by every person on Earth because it just puts everything into perspective and SO MUCH can be learnt from this book.
What’s A Girl Gotta Do? is the third in the Normal series and focuses on Lottie – a loud and confident character who has had her fair share of boyfriends and relationships so this book isn’t like the previous two which focus on Evie and Amber and their journey regarding boys and relationships, it’s all to do with FEMINISM.
So you hear the word feminism and what do you think? Man-hating, hot-headed women who want to burn bras and not shave their body for the sake of ‘equality’? No. Feminism is about females and males being EQUAL in society and breaking down barriers and all the double-standard crap that comes with being one gender rather than the other.
Lottie starts a project to call out every single sexist (female AND male) thing she sees, uploading videos of her doing so to the internet and starting a vlog. The book follows her journey throughout the project and how it starts to takes its toll on Lottie as the trolls come out from under their bridges and shout nasty, horrid things to her as she tries to raise awareness of just how sexist society is.
Things like paying more money for ibuprofen when it’s in a pink package but has EXACTLY THE SAME INGREDIENTS, or how many movie posters show particular body parts of females but never their faces yet you never see the same done with a man, or why a male is called ‘mister’ all throughout his life but a female has to change her title from ‘miss’ to ‘mrs’ if she gets married as well as changing her last name.
All these things are happening in society RIGHT NOW and WAGGD highlights just a few of the incredibly sexist things we have to put up with because ‘that’s just how things are’. Well, this book is all about changing this – it’s about calling out the unfairness of it all and showing that if we all help change the little acts of sexism – like calling someone out when they tell a man to ‘man up’ or offer the food bill to the male at a restaurant since the man is expected to pay – then we can begin to tackle the larger things.
How is one sexist act more important than the other? They all lead to the common act of SEXISM. If we can stop the little things then the sexism pyramid (explained in WAGGD) will topple and all the horrible acts of sexism will begin to break apart too.
I absolutely enjoyed this book so much because it just gave me hope that if there is an author out there writing these things and the books are getting to people all over the country, perceptions can change and people will start doing something to change the bad stuff that’s happening. It has totally fuelled my inner feminist and I now keep questioning sexist things I see like over the internet or on TV, or like when my mum even says things without realises it – the other day she said to my dad (after he had annoyed her) ‘honestly woman!’ and I questioned why she said that, like he isn’t a woman so why did she call him one? My family are getting a tad annoyed by me and my ‘calling out’ of sexism but I DON’T CARE because if we all just sit back and accept stuff as ‘it is what it is’ then how the hell is that ever going to change anything???
Back to the book. Lottie was not my favourite character in the Normal series but I saw a different side to her in this book – with pushy and sometimes overwhelming parents, Lottie feels pressure to do well in college but finds that grades aren’t everything and throws herself into her project in the hope that it could help change the world. She is an empowering character and I know that I couldn’t have done some of the things she does in this book, but she’s made me want to do more than just think something is sexist – I want to act on it and call out someone when they do or say something sexist, just like she does in WAGGD.
Lottie finds herself stuck between following a long-since-ingrained career in politics and making a bit of a fool of herself in an attempt to change peoples’ views and attitudes. All this girl wants to do is change the world but we see her struggle with what’s important and worth fighting for as she sees a backlash from her project and unsupportive parent over her project too.
I LOVED THIS BOOK. Did I already mention that? I read it in pretty much under a day and I loved being back with the girls and their funny but adorable friendship. If you’re looking for something contemporary and current to read, then make a beeline for this book in the bookstore – you won’t regret it!
I’m going to mention a few spoilers now (not many though) so look away if you don’t want to see!
Only a few things to mention with this book since not many things happened to give away the plot or anything, but one thing I will say is Will – I knew from the moment we met him that there would be a bit of a love interest there and he would be the guy that Lottie would end up with and I’m glad they did. I liked how Lottie mentioned the cognitive dissonance about how she hates cocky guys but then still feels attracted to them and the author explains this well – it shows that you aren’t a hypocrite, it’s just something you feel and it can’t be helped.
The bit about Megan was written really well and I’m glad we never found out what exactly happened to her (it hints at abuse but is never actually confirmed) because it shows us that people deal with things in their own way and we can’t force them to do what we think even if we think it’s the right thing. So even though the reader obviously really wants to know what happened to her, we never find out because Megan never tells Lottie, and since the book is all in Lottie’s perspective, it means we don’t get answers and we’re okay with that. Amber and Lottie even have an argument over this (about whether Megan should tell someone or not) and Amber disagrees with Lottie’s way of getting Megan to talk about what happened to her and it just puts it so plainly that sometimes all we can do is be there for a person. Not everyone wants to tell anyone, but Megan does end up telling her mother in the end and dealing with it in her own way.
I love this message because it’s completely away from all the feminism theme and just about being decent people – you cannot make someone talk or do what you want or think is right, but you can just be there and sometimes that is all a person needs. The author gets important life messages across so well in her books and this is just another example.
The ending was just what I wanted it to be with Lottie chasing her dream but in her own way and on her terms. She is just herself in the interview and not some made-up person she pretends to be in front of the interviewers and I love it! Lottie is herself and only wants to get into Cambridge if they want her.
But when I turned the last page I read the most heartfelt letter from the author about her inspiration for the book and her own views on how to make better this world. And if I wasn’t already emotional enough, I found out that she’s going to release a novella that explores what the three girls are up to a bit into the future – I can’t wait! I thought the ending was really good but I was sad to never find out what happens to them all and so this news has got me really excited!!
If you haven’t read any of Holly Bourne’s work, then just do it because it’s absolutely AWESOME and uplifting.
Sorry there aren’t any gifs in this post but I can’t put how amazing this book and this series is into gif format, well maybe this one will do:
“I want to change things on my own terms, to show that there’s no right or wrong way to change the world. There’s no entry test. You don’t need to suck anything up. Pay any dues. Just you and your anger and your voice is enough. If you only have the courage to use it.” – Holly Bourne, What’s A Girl Gotta Do?