I really enjoyed this.
I’m a member on a site called International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and a few months ago there was an influx of awesome ladies to our boards, and they all found us because of ARC copies of this book. So naturally I pre-ordered a copy and then patiently (not so patiently) waited for it to arrive. It showed up yesterday and I breezed through it this afternoon, and I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed.
And yet, of the reviews I see on Goodreads, people seem to fall into two camps. 1 star and 5 star. So let me tell you what this book is all about. It’s a celebration of passionately loving things without shame. It’s all about owning your opinions and sharing awesome stuff with others and not letting the haters get you down. Which is really deeply funny when you consider the reviews. I encourage anyone who is interested in the book to take a quick look at it’s reviews on goodreads. The five star reviews all pretty much say, this is fun and funny filled with quirky information that you probably knew but made you smile anyway and inspired you to embrace your inner awesome. All the one star reviews say that it’s childish and unoriginal and self important.
It’s kind of a perfect representation of the entire moral behind the book. I’ll be honest. As a 25 year old who has always loved things passionately starting at age 4 with Sailor Moon, growing up on Star Trek with my parents and Harry Potter with my friends, after nearly a decade of Buffy and Dr Who, and years spent in front of game boys, playstations and computer screens, there’s never been a time in my life when I wasn’t a fangirl. And in understanding that I’ve always been a nerd, I didn’t exactly gleam a huge amount of new information from (though more than enough to warrant the purchase). However, I didn’t really expect it rock my world. I know who I am. I didn’t pick the book up to teach me how to me a fangirl, or even how to be a better fangirl. Anyone who loves something whether it’s a book, film, game, comic, etc, needs no one else’s approval, understanding or permission to do so. I purchased this book to rejoice in this collective happiness. This positive vibe of self acceptance and curiosity and supporting equal rights and feminism not just in our representation through media, but in our consumption of it. A big part of this book deals with how feminism and patriarchy are represented for, by and to women and it’s a hugely important discussion.
But the negative reviews of this book baffle and amuse me. They say, “a real geek wouldn’t need to read this”, “It’s just trivia you could get for free”, etc. To be clear I’m not saying that people aren’t entitled to their opinions. You absolutely have every right not to like this book for one reason or another. I completely agree with the reviews that say you probably already know the definition of feels, or OTP and in that respect the book can probably be considered fairly basic. But I think those reviews says more about the people reading it than it does about the actual book.
If you identify as a fangirl then you do probably know the information within. Why would you assume that you wouldn’t? If you were looking for a book that would tell you all the secrets of the Dr Who universe, then maybe pick up a Dr Who book. Same goes if you wanted an in depth perspective on women’s involvement in the comic industry and their representation. There are books specifically devoted to those topics that you could be reading instead. There is no way that you could create a massive bible containing all the shiny information about every fandom or nerdy thing in the universe. So I’m not sure what people were expecting when they picked this up. It’s not a manual, it’s an experience. It’s the kind of book that you give to a young girl (10+) who is struggling with standing up for themselves and their opinions versus what other people think they should do or feel. It’s the kind of confidence or information that is useful to someone experiencing it for the first time. As adults we know this stuff, at 10, this would have been a source of inspiration to be myself and be proud.
I’m not saying that it’s the worlds most perfect book, or that you have to own this if your a fangirl, but I found it to be a really lovely romp through some fandoms I knew, some that I now want to learn more about, and good for a laugh. It felt like I was having a conversation with a fellow nerd lady who is frustrated with how we get treated for the things we love.
If your a happy nerd who enjoys other people discussing what it’s like to be a happy nerd, read this. It won’t blow your mind, but it’s better than sitting in camp I’m-to-good-for-this.