When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well now! This was an extremely pleasant surprise. I might even say that this might be an important book. Emphasis important.
Because while it may have a lot of trappings of modern Feminist fantastical literature, what, with hundreds of thousands of women in stifling situations in 1955 suddenly sloughing off their skins to become dragons, it's good enough to be rather UNIVERSAL in nature.
Yes, the patriarchy is evil. Yes, women as a zeitgeist just snapped and said no to being limited, abused, or ignored. But here's the real deal: I feel the same way. I feel too big inside for my own skin. I want to rage and feel intense joy and NOT be limited by all the immense bullshit surrounding me, too.
I was RIGHT THERE. Indeed, I feel a dragon stretching my skin right now.
So, is this only a feminist fantasy? Hell no. This is a "I'm tired of being held back from what I really want to be" novel.
Of course, another enterprising reviewer might say something like: But aren't most identity novels the same thing?
Oh, sure, but few of them are quite this delightful and engaging, drawing me into something like an academic memoir while also re-framing so much of modern history under its glorious wings. For what I said before, it works well for Equal Rights and acceptance across a lot more than just Feminism. The social equity for race, orientation, and the power dynamic is all represented here. As you're reading it, you might just slip in ANY or ALL of the causes even if it is officially female-centric.
I call this a mark of a great book.
It's about being able to fight for your desire to pursue your dreams, after all. Dragoning is about having the power to fight your causes, your passions, your love.
Nobody should ever have the power to stop you from loving. No matter WHAT that love entails. So, TAKE FLIGHT!
Wooooo, what an energizing book. :)
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