Review: She Sad by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey
I am so happy that I decided to buy this book and read it sooner rather than later. Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced as of mid-March, and reading this book makes me even more relieved of this news as I was when I first heard it.
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are journalists for the New York Times. There were always allegations arising involving high powered men. During the presidential run in 2016, there were onslaughts of accusations against Donald Trump. They also knew of rumblings in Hollywood of Harvey Weinstein's behaviour towards coworkers and actresses, and were wondering where to focus their attention. Undoubtedly, bringing down someone with the level of celebrity that Trump obtained, and taking into account that he was running for the President of the United States meant that he would be near impossible to bring down. All accusations of ill-behaviour thrown his way were immediately silenced. Pay offs as well as reports being dismissed for a lack of evidence were evident - there were too many cases of 'he said, she said'. Harvey Weinstein offered up as an 'easier target' in some ways. As his infamy outside of the film business was generally attached to his predation. I remember hearing the 'grab 'em by the pussy' tape and being completely horrified that Trump was still elected. And yet, the UK voted for Brexit, so I can't judge too harshly. I was, however, completely unaware of the other allegations that surrounded Trump. Reading them at the beginning of the book was incredibly disturbing, given how many people voted for this man, how many look up to him, and how much power he possesses.
This is unlike other books I have read of this nature. This does not read like an emotional memoir. Due to the sheer number of victims that are involved, it would be too difficult to make this a distressing first person account. There were approximately 90 women in total, and many of whom are mentioned in She Said. It reads as non-fiction, as it's written by journalists, but this doesn't hurt the gripping nature of the reading experience. The style of writing allows this to be amongst other works of serious investigative journalism. It's impossible to not get emotional when reading the accounts from the actresses and former employees, despite the factual delivery of the story.
The book also discusses the initial rise of the #MeToo movement and everything that came along with it; namely, men claiming it was unfair to have their reputations slandered for something that was 'just a bit of fun'. Mentions of the birth of the movement are fascinating to read - as a woman, it felt liberating to see the words on the page of floods of women marching the streets, with the men marching behind them. It allows us to harken back to the point where the world had a whole new moral compass to consider: what is now acceptable and unacceptable in the workplace or out of it when it comes to conduct between men and women?
I was in tears at the completion of this book. The epilogue describes a mass interview between all of the high-profile actresses, former employees and victims of Weinstein's predatory behaviour. As a group, the discussion began between women of such diverse backgrounds - from an A-lister like Gwyneth Paltrow to a McDonald's worker, Kim Lawson - enlightened me to them all having had such similar experiences despite their different backgrounds. And what a strange thing for them to all have in common?
If you have any interest in this topic, or an interest in feminism and activism, this book is for you. I wouldn't even want to pigeonhole it to that extent, as frankly, the publicity and the impact this scandal has caused has resulted in it being a 'hot-topic' for anyone and everyone. Therefore everyone should read this book, as it uncovers the truth with a huge amount of respect and admiration for those that have come forward to share their stories. It systematically demonstrates how much influence and control are had by men in power, therefore this information should be known by all. The result and the key message to take from this book can be summed up by this: "We're still here...we're still smiling. None of us died from stepping forward. We walked through the fire, but we all came out the other side."
"We're not the first people who've spoken up....we're not the first women who've spoken up." "There isn't ever going to be an end...the point is that people have to continue always speaking up and not being afraid."
Initial Prediction: 4.5 stars
Final Rating: 4.5 stars
Publication Date: 10 September 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
# of Pages: 336