I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had joined a few online book clubs and I'm loving how they've encouraged me to stretch my reading in different directions. Lately I've been sticking to only a few genres and have been working my way through this favorite mystery series, so when Emma Watson's book club elected to read My Life on the Road, I knew it would be out of my comfort zone for a number of reasons. First, I've read very few memoirs, as usually when I venture into non-fiction I tend to pick historical books or biographies of ancient historical figures, so a contemporary memoir was a new field for me. Second, I didn't really know who Gloria Steinem was; I recognized her name but wouldn't have been able to tell you a single thing about her before reading the book. I felt that this made me a great candidate for judging her book, because through my reading experience she was speaking to a first-time audience member.
Though my pace was slower and I wasn't enthralled in the same way that I am when reading fiction, I came away really liking this book. In it, she talks about everything from her childhood to her experiences attending sacred (and secret) Native American ceremonies, to standing by a friend's side as she battled cancer. I found it to be a really full account of a life -- everything from her biggest, career-making moments to the smaller, meaningful moments that happen in the everyday. In this book, I found another great female role model. Steinem tended to tackle feminist causes in places where female voices were barely whispers, planting confidence and passion where it could grow into movements and long-lasting change. Though I am moving into a professional field dominated by women, her movements made me think a lot about the power of a group of people who believe in making change for the benefit of everyone, even those who fight against it.
By far, my favorite section of the book was Steinem's forays into Native American culture. I found her peek into their lives truly fascinating and came away from the book wanting to know more about how the culture is fighting to stay alive in modern times. I'm still searching for a book to help me learn more, so recommendations are welcome!
In the end, I was so glad that I read this book. I felt uplifted by Steinem's words and admired her character. I'd recommend this for any book club who is looking for a non-fiction pick, to women of any age, and to any reader looking to learn more about what it means to be feminist.
Bottom Line Rating: 4/5
Title: My Life on the Road
Author: Gloria Steinem
Publisher: Random House, 2015
Price: $16 on Amazon
Source: Public Library