14 February, 2015

Book Review: Self-Made Man

From Goodreads: Following in the tradition of John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me) and Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed), Norah Vincent absorbed a cultural experience and reported back on what she observed incognito. For more than a year and a half she ventured into the world as Ned, with an ever-present five o'clock shadow, a crew cut, wire-rim glasses, and her own size 11 1/2 shoes-a perfect disguise that enabled her to observe the world of men as an insider. The result is a sympathetic, shrewd, and thrilling tour de force of immersion journalism that's destined to challenge preconceptions and attract enormous attention. With her buddies on the bowling league she enjoyed the rough and rewarding embrace of male camaraderie undetectable to an outsider. A stint in a high-octane sales job taught her the gut- wrenching pressures endured by men who would do anything to succeed. She frequented sex clubs, dated women hungry for love but bitter about men, and infiltrated all- male communities as hermetically sealed as a men's therapy group, and even a monastery. Narrated in her utterly captivating prose style and with exquisite insight, humor, empathy, nuance, and at great personal cost, Norah uses her intimate firsthand experience to explore the many remarkable mysteries of gender identity as well as who men are apart from and in relation to women. Far from becoming bitter or outraged, Vincent ended her journey astounded-and exhausted-by the rigid codes and rituals of masculinity. Having gone where no woman (who wasn't an aspiring or actual transsexual) has gone for any significant length of time, let alone eighteen months, Norah Vincent's surprising account is an enthralling reading experience and a revelatory piece of anecdotally based gender analysis that is sure to spark fierce and fascinating conversation. 

Thoughts: Oh dear, where to start. I can't even begin to tell you what a mess this book is. The amount of times I wanted to throw it across the room in sheer anger (but didn't because I was reading it on my Kindle) is ridiculously high - higher than any other book I have ever read before. Norah Vincent sells not only men short, but women as well. From what I can gather, men are poor put upon idiots who are unable to help themselves and are constantly manipulated and played by women. Women are calculating, manipulative bitches who want it all and a man to deliver it.
I stopped taking notes. I kept hoping I would come across some great epiphany about the gender divide. I finished it because it's our book group book this month. At the very least, it should provide some great discussion.

Self-Made Man is a definite 1 star.

 *        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing




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