As with most pop-psychology books, I’m a little torn: do the benefits of the book outweigh the drawbacks of the book? And, as with any book, I found both good and bad parts. I can say regardless, I am glad I finally read this book. It’s been on my to-be-read list for ages, but the push from my friend Dominic spurred me to move it up my list.
The largest challenge I faced while reading The Velvet Rage was having to constantly remind myself that Downs wrote this book for the “masses” and not for academia or research. And as often as I did this, I still wound up harshly judging Downs’ generic and stereotypical observations, which I do for anyone including my own. His generalizations were not wrong, stereotypes exist for a reason, but I did have to ask how Downs’ feels about this and whether he has since acknowledged this as he does not discuss it in the novel. There is an updated, 20th anniversary, version of this book which would be interesting to read.
If possible, Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return was better than Satrapi’s first graphic novel Persepolis: A Story of Childhood. Don’t get me wrong, they were both great and the first one’s wit and humor (from the perspective of a 10-year-old) was better placed and timed, but this novel just dealt with adult issues an early 20s individual faces and thus I identified more with it.
I sill say, however, that this book provided less history and explanation about the revolution and continuing Islamization of Iran than the first and focused more on the challenges Marjane and other young women faced as women under the new rule from the stricter veiling and gender segregation to the lack of freedom of mobility and education for women and mandatory military service for young men.
I flew through this book and will need to read it again to savor more of the story. When I say I flew, I mean I read it in just over an hour. I read every bit of it and even glorified in the illustration a few times, but I’m moving on to Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return.
I’ve wanted to see the film adaptation for a long time, but I never got around to seeing it. I’ve seen previews for it on many of the other films I’ve watched but I never took the initiative to seek out the film. So when our books into movies book group started to discuss a graphic novel I put this one out there and we selected it! I’m very glad I did and I’m still super excited about seeing the film. I believe the film encompasses both volumes of the story, but I won’t know until I watch it. I’m reading both volumes as if you remember I picked them up for helping out at the local library book sale.
This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I still found it an interesting read. My friend Chet sent it to me last year as a gift and after having a bit of a downer week a few weeks ago (dating and men suck – I’m back to the thought that men, or at least the ones I’m interested in dating, are stupid and you should throw rocks at them) and figured I’d find out why I am the way I am. And conveniently this counts as a bonus book for my Mount TBR reading challenge.
I was hoping Robbins would take it her analyses further, but she lead right up to numerous ideas and then just left them. She did provide a great job trying to define ‘quirk culture’ and explaining the ‘cafeteria fringe,’ but I can’t help but feel as this book is a pop-journalist book there wasn’t as much done as I would expect in an academically researched book. But she did provide many references and anecdotes of additional resources.
I’ve wanted to read this since a book group I was in when I first moved to Boston read it. They read it before I joined and I thought it sounded interesting. So keeping with my theme of expanding my reading (and apparently reading a lot more nonfiction) I requested it from the local library.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed. This book felt more like a really well written undergraduate research paper than a book than a published book (and they were typos too). Part of this I believe comes from the structure and subtitle of the book and the other part I think comes from the super-focused subject matter. I discuss both below, but before I get to that I do want to say that it was an interesting read and I found many of the stories compelling and the appalling way in which Harvard dealt with these students should be a black mark on their history and reputation regardless of the time period. Not only did the Secret Court expel a number of individuals they were so adamant in their beliefs that they expunged the records of some of the individuals completely removing them from Harvard University records and if any of those expelled attempted to get into another school or a job using their Harvard connection/credentials, Harvard had a policy of exposing explicitly why they were expelled and this continued into at least the 1970s.