Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Review: The Twisted Sisterhood (Unraveling the Dark Legacy of Female Friendships) by Kelly Valen

To be quite honest, I finished this book a while ago and have put off writing my review because, well, I knew that it wouldn't be an easy review to write. The thing is, what woman out there hasn't dealt with a toxic female relationship in her life? I certainly have, and so I had high hopes for The Twisted Sisterhood.

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Unfortunately, I can't say that my hopes were realized.

My first complaint upon completing this book was the fact that the "article that started it all" - the article about a horrific experience in her college sorority, the article that inspired Kelly Valen to write The Twisted Sisterhood - was conspicuous only in its absence. I know that Ms. Valen wanted to keep this book separate from the article, but as one stemmed from the other this really did more harm than good. Even if she didn't want to include it at the beginning or quote it throughout, it really should have been added as an appendix at the end.

And speaking of appendices, the survey from whence Ms. Valen took so much information for Twisted Sisterhood really shouldn't have been tacked on to the end of the book. Instead, it would have best served at the beginning, with encouragement that women take it before reading.

While I'm on the subject of that questionnaire, to be honest it was the most interesting part of this book, and I personally would have liked to have seen more direct quotes from it, rather than just the statistics that Ms. Valen seemed to think it necessary to include over and over and over again. Instead of using her own survey and the answers from it, the author consistently quoted other authors who have written similar books. This left me wanting to put this book down and move on to reading some of the other books that she mentioned, as their authors were clearly more coherent and presented better - and better worded - arguments and opinions than Ms. Valen herself did.

Part of the issue with Ms. Valen's own writing was that it was incessantly repetitive - to the point of being obsessive - and fairly bland. In conclusion? The Twisted Sisterhood presented an interesting topic and a good message, but the delivery was severely lacking. 2.5/5 stars.


"Some women insist that while all of this lady love is nice, gender really isn't the point; it's about respecting and making meaningful connections with any person, regardless of sex...And while I appreciate the intellectual appeal of those sentiments, I also think Come on. Men step up to the plate too, but most of us agree it's a different brand of camaraderie."

"...emotions are biological functions of the nervous system. We can't will them to occur or not occur - they happen to us, riddled as they are with blood, sweat, and tears. Once a powerful emotion rears its head, in fact, we actually have limited control over it no matter how logical we tend to be. Ask anyone who's ever fallen in love. We can try to arrange external actions and events to manage them, tame them, and rein them in. But that's about it."

"'In standing up for and preserving another's dignity, we might very well save our own.'"

"Poor mothering doesn't entitle anyone to a lifelong Get Out of Jail Free card in the game of humanity." Pin It

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