Review published on May 17, 2017.
Jess Phillips is currently Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley and she has made headlines for speaking out about women’s issues, particularly around domestic violence. She says what she feels needs to be said and doesn’t apologise for giving silenced people a voice out in the public domain. It appears she has written this book for a few reasons, including inspiring other people to speak out about injustice and to give a more rounded account of where she has come from and why she is as she is now, so people can see a person rather than a public figure, or an out of context headline.
It is separated into chapters dealing with different issues such as motherhood, careers, trolling, violence, growing up and sisterhood. They read a bit like a collection of ideas, life experiences and connect to what gets done, or attempts to get done, in parliament.
This book is very accessible, for anyone who has an interest in women’s issues and what goes on in parliament, or just wants to work out what it takes to make a difference and how we can be true to ourselves and make society a fairer place. I really enjoyed it, being unsure at first whether it would be preachy or just make me feel like I hadn’t achieved anything worthwhile, or if it would be beyond me, as someone who follows the news and has opinions but wouldn’t ever claim to properly understand politics and all the shades and variety it holds. Instead, I found it easy to run with the ideas, smile at the jokes, and consider some new things and build on the knowledge I do have. What was particularly good was how current it all was, I am sure the future will provide a different reading to this book but as it takes place almost here and now it was almost like reading a newspaper or an internet article. I realise the day I picked it up to start was the day the snap election was called so I read it with that in mind, considering who to vote for and what to look for in a leader and which party might represent my interests.
This book was good for my perception of politicians generally, Phillips is likeable in my eyes and, while there is no one who is ‘normal’, I felt she is true to who she is throughout the book and that helped me see our hardworking politicians trying doing things for us as people who can be relatable and interesting.
I would recommend this book most of all to young people, as it’s so important to not get into a life pattern of keeping quiet and trying to make everyone happy at your emotional, financial, spiritual and physical expense, to try to understand the world and where changes can be made to move everyone into a better place and create the future you want to be part of.
Helen Corton 4/5
Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth by Jess Phillips
Hutchinson 9781786330772 hbk Feb 2017
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