The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls

Beacon. Sept. 2019. 216p. notes. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9780807013816.
Gr 9 Up–When Eltahawy was sexually assaulted as a teenager, she resigned herself to sadness. When she was sexually assaulted as an adult, she fought. Eltahawy’s rage permeates the pages of this book—her manifesto. The seven “sins” she refers to are anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust. Each patriarchally deemed taboo is a separate chapter that includes current examples of women embracing the sin and what happens when they do not. The overall narrative creates a seemingly bleak picture of the state of women’s rights around the world. Unlike many current feminist titles, the author does not position the United States as front and center. Plenty of attention is given to the struggle for equality in the Middle East and around the world. From violence against women during the Arab Spring to the election of Donald Trump, Eltahawy shows just how much women continue to suffer from inequality and how they can take action and bring about change. Admittedly, due to the author’s literary style and editorial approach, this book won’t be for everyone. Some readers may be uncomfortable with the book’s generous amount of profanity.
VERDICT Eltahawy is thought-provoking and uncompromising. Young women who especially respond to Eltahawy’s voice can use the author’s ideas to create their own brand of feminism.

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