Early this year, Emma Watson announced she would be starting a global book club on Goodreads geared especially for feminist literature and writing. Hooray! I’m excited Ms. Watson is using her star power to start a discussion about, for, and by women about feminism and issues of equality. I promptly joined Our Shared Shelf and was excited to read the first selection, My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem.
I’ve known about Steinem through the years, but I’ve never actually gotten to read anything directly written by her. I know she’s been a keystone and controversial cultural figure, and I know that her feminism may differ somewhat from my own, and that’s okay. We came of age in different times and places, and I wanted to see how her life got her to this place.
My Life on the Road is less a travelogue and more a thematic series of encounters. It’s hard to explain, but Steinem focuses somewhat on the actual travel but more on the ideas and philosophies that got her to these places on the road and what she took away from them for her next trip. She encompasses her own life history, feminist history, and feminist philosophy in a book that captures the travels she has undergone to get to her to the twenty-first century.
I really liked the concept, and Steinem is a good storyteller. But the structure was somewhat disjointed and not always easy or pleasurable to follow. That said, this is a good book and worth the read once. I will confess that nonfiction is not my genre of choice, so implicit bias might have colored my reading. I’m really excited for February’s book—The Color Purple.