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352 pages, Hardcover
First published September 18, 2017
Plenty of shrewd insights to make up for the dodgy spelling. She really should have more confidence in herself, but girls like Emily set themselves impossibly high standards so they never feel good about themselves. What was it she said to me? “I’m not the cleverest, I’m not the prettiest, I’m not the anythingest.” It’s the disease of the day. ... ...
Does my daughter know, or at any rate sense, that now she is hardly writing about Shakespeare at all? That she is, in fact, writing about her own desperate attempts to fit in, that all teenagers must put on “motley” to be in with the cool kids? That Emily’s daily makeup tutorial on Instagram is teaching her how contrive a Cateyed mask, to disguise herself and her gripping fear that she is not perfect. And making her think that being imperfect is somehow not OK, rather than a human condition. And what will future historians make of the fact that, at the start of the twenty-first century, when feminism seemed to have won the argument, girls like Emily tried their hardest to look like the courtesans of a previous age when women had almost no power except their looks and the ability to attract a man of status? (p158)