Audiobook Review: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay


3.5 disco balls

Published: August 5, 2014 by HarperAudio
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Category: Nonfiction, Essays, Feminism
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Nonfiction (2014)

Bad Feminist, a book of essays by Roxane Gay, is more than what the title may portray. There are essays on feminism but actually not as many as I thought. The beginning starts out discussing the author’s love of competitive Scrabble. I kind of was like “where is this going?” but realized this may be the way the author was allowing us to get to know her. (Since I was listening to the audiobook I didn’t have the breakdown of sections or essay titles. I would come to realize later that yes, those essays were her “Me” section.)

Gay’s essays touch upon various subjects such as body image, gender inequality, sexual assault, race, stereotypes in literature and film, and how media presents these subjects.

It is a thought provoking read and a conversation starter. It highlights very important subjects and makes you reflect on your own thoughts: I sometimes found myself thinking “hmm, I hadn’t thought of it that way before” or that she stated more eloquently similar thoughts I had. 

Chapter 14 of the audiobook will stay with me. If there is one chapter/essay you need to read/listen to: it is this one. It is the essay, The Careless Language of Sexual Violence. It discusses a newspaper article that when reporting on the gruesome sexual assault of an 11 year old girl, made the town and the boys the actual victims (yes I said boys – as in plural) whose lives would never be the same (how sad, was what they messaged). The focus on the actual victim was: where was her mother? That article still revs me up; absolutely horrifying. The journalist and newspaper should be ashamed of themselves; how irresponsible of them. Gay also shares her own personal story of sexual assault at a young age; her courage and confidence in addressing these subjects is empowering and inspiring.

Gay is very opinionated and although I may often agree with her on some things, sometimes I did not relate to her tone. She can come across mean and often pointed out what certain people did wrong or where they fell flat, but I felt it wasn’t constructive. To me it was just mean so she lost me a bit in those pieces.

As you have probably heard me say time and time again, I struggle with audiobooks but I still try to listen to at least one a month. I am getting better at paying attention and still have a ways to go. I will say the narrator, Bahni Turpin, did a great job.

Interesting tidbit: In one of her essay’s, Gay rips Kathryn Stockett’s The Help which was also narrated by Bahni Turpin. I wonder what Bahni was feeling when she voiced that essay.

Did you read/listen to Bad Feminist? Let me know what you thought.


11 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

  1. That would be an interesting question to actually ask the narrator. I have seen this book a lot, but this is the first review I have read. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that it was in essay format for that very reason. Each Chapter changed subjects so you could move on from those pieces you may have been frustrated by. I gather it would be a quick read if I actually read it versus listened.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s