BOOK CLUB: Women of a Certain Rage

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Women of a Certain Rage by Liz Byrski is a stunning compilation of short essays by 20 women of different ages, backgrounds, beliefs and experiences on the topic of Rage.

Liz Byrski, the author of ten novels and twelve non-fiction titles, Adjunct Associate Professor at Curtin University, opens the book with an introduction of the events that led to the genesis of this book’s content, including the #MeToo movement. 

Many women were invited to contribute to the book which would explore the different issues that incite and inspire women’s rage.  Not all invitees felt they could contribute, many found difficulties articulating rage in writing as reliving their experiences triggered those feelings again.

What transpired was this book, 20 wildly different explorations of what rage meant to each of the writers, from discovering their Aboriginality and reconnecting to their heritage and culture, exposing the dreadful neglect of an elderly relative, explaining how a childhood character in a book became the model to inspire anger and writing, the dreadful and life-changing impact of a ‘bad acid trip’, exposing society’s response to perceived disabilities, to second (third?) wave feminism, immigration detention and climate change.

Some of these stories are so raw they put a lump in your throat, many are hard to read as you confront both your own rage and your errors in dealing with others, all are both valid and powerful.

These women have confronted and articulated the rage that drives them to be who they are. In doing so many of these women have discussed deeply personal experiences that could have destroyed them, and in some cases nearly did.

Every contributor to this book, Anne Aly, Nadine Browne, Nandi Chinna, Claire G Coleman, Carrie Cox, Eva Cox, Sarah Drummond, Carly Findlay, Goldie Goldbloom, Rafeif Ismail, Margo Kingston, Jay Martin, Meg McKinlay, Olivia Muscat, Mihaela Nicolescu, Reneé Pettitt-Schipp, Victoria Midwinter Pitt, Fiona Stanley, Jane Underwood, and Julienne van Loon has done an amazing job of expressing their rage, whether with passion, courage and humour or just downright crankiness.

Every aspect of this book, from the play on ‘women of a certain age’ so often used to dismiss women’s righteous anger for their treatment over the years, to the stunning cover with its understated focus on a flower’s sharp thorns is indicative of the underlying rage that continues to drive many of us.

Women of a Certain Rage is a brilliantly conceived, compiled and produced book, and Liz Byrski should be commended for her inspiration and commitment in creating it.

Highly recommended, this book should be prescribed reading in all schools to empower our future generations.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Women of a Certain Rage by Liz Byrski. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

ISBN: 9781760990060 / Publisher: Fremantle Press

5 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Women of a Certain Rage

  1. I struggled to keep reading this book to be honest. I found the subject confronting and made my blood boil in certain stories. I guess that is the point of the book, to prompt a reaction.
    Some stories did ramble a bit and I found it frustrating.

  2. Sorry not my type of book, I had to put it down after each short story and to be honest, havent yet finished it. I found some to be able to relate to, such as the lady who struggled with the ex family, not that Ive been in that scenario but others I found quite frustrating, as an arena to air their views (political)

    I understand that the book was to let other women know their own rage and frustration, but I really didn’t want to hear about it I guess, having my own life to deal with.

  3. I found “Women of a Certain Rage” to be something far outside of what I would normally read. I found every story shared by these women to be thought provoking. Some stories provoked anger, some frustration and I experienced a lot of empathy towards these wonderful, brave women to have shared their views and experiences. This book may not be to every readers taste but it certainly made me experience multiple and varied emotions and in my opinion is what a good book often aspires to do. Thank you Beauty and Lace Bookclub, Fremantle Press and to all of the authors of this book for sharing your stories which allowed me and others to get a glimpse into your lives and to gain further insight into female rage and how it is often perceived by society.

  4. Thank you to all of the contributors to “Women of a Certain Rage” for their heartfelt expressions and interpretations of rage. It was a deeply interesting and thought provoking read with many different topics sparking rage or surrounding it.
    It was also interesting to read some seemingly conflicting views of rage and its productivity or lack thereof for example. I agreed with Carrie Cox in her use of Mark Twain’s description of anger as acid, ruining the vessel it is stored in, rather than being an agent for change. However I also agreed with Fiona Stanley and Claire G Coleman’s somewhat conflicting yet equally compelling view of rage as useful when used productively to enact or push change.
    The short stories range from those about ableism, racism, politics and the contributors own family and upbringing yet all are powerful in their message – despite the stereotypical image of a calm female, rage in women is normal.

  5. Thank you to Beauty & Lace for the chance to read and review “Women of a Certain Rage” by Author Liz Byrski.
    This is not a book I would usually read but I applied for the book review team because I relate to anger…. I relate to rage (at times) and I am a woman and so thought I would find a connection with someone in between these pages. Liz Byrski invited women around Australia, to write a short essay on rage; their experiences with rage, how they handled rage, to think about where the rage was born, the effects of their rage on relationships etc. What materialised was this book, a book of short stories from twenty Australian women from a myriad of backgrounds, cultures.
    In all honesty, I could take or leave this book. I did experience a range of emotions during the read and there were times when I was forced to stop and think, think about the way’s communities deal with issues, even ways I, myself, deal with certain topics. I found myself getting frustrated and cranky with some women writers who could not speak up when they felt anger boiling inside. Expressing my anger has never been a problem for me, I guess I take it for granted… It does make me sad that women have had and still have so much to be angry about.

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