Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock, because I’d never heard of Amanda de Cadenet until I read this book. (Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’ve been living with my nose permanently stuck in one book after another.)
I made a decision earlier this year to broaden my reading horizons and read books I wouldn’t ordinarily have read in the past. This is the sort of book that, in past years, I would have been curious about and maybe even skimmed over a few pages before putting it back on the shelf. As a general rule, I’m not one to read essay collections and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where one of the main topics is feminism, either. This book hit the spot twice over on broadening my reading horizons, so obviously I had to read it.
And I’m glad I did.
I really enjoyed the conversational feel of the book. It flowed as if I were reading a series of letters, rather than a collection of essays. (If I hadn’t been reading two other books at the same time, I have no doubt that I could have read the entire book cover to cover in less than two days.) In the book, de Cadenet shares stories of her life—childhood, marriages, motherhood, and career—and as the title suggests, some of it is, indeed, messy. She also discusses lessons she’s learned along the way, about the importance of friendship, standing up for what you believe in, and being true to yourself. One of the things that resonated most with me is when she talks about not listening to the negative voice inside your head when it tells you you’re not “enough” in some way. (Ladies, you know the voice I’m talking about: The one that says you’re not thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough… whatever.) That voice is a vicious bitch and hits on every insecurity a women has about herself. In speaking about body acceptance, Amanda says:
It’s better to accept yourself and your body than to beat yourself up.
Those thirteen little words have a huge amount of truth in them, and it made me pause for a moment of reflection. How much time have I spent, every single day, feeling unhappy about the way I look? How many times have I let depression to wash over me in waves as I made endless lists of everything that wasn’t “good enough” about me? Wasted time, all of it. Even more so when I think about how little time, in comparison, I’ve spent feeling content about any of those things.
Some essays are more difficult to read than others, due to the subject matter, but they all have important messages to get across. This is definitely a book that makes you think.
Now that I’ve broadened my reading horizons… won’t you broaden yours, as well? 🙂
I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Harper Wave.
About the Book
In this deeply personal collection of essays, creator of the The Conversation Amanda de Cadenet shares the hard-won advice and practical insights she’s gained through her experiences as businesswoman, friend, wife, and mother.
Amanda is on a mission to facilitate conversations that allow all women to be seen, heard, and understood. Through her multimedia platform The Conversation, she interviews some of today’s most bad ass women—from Hillary Clinton to Lady Gaga—in no-holds-barred conversations that get to the heart of what means to be female. Now, in It’s Messy, Amanda offers readers an extension of that conversation, inviting them into her life and sharing her own story.
From childhood fame to a high-profile marriage (and divorce) to teen motherhood to the sexism that threatened to end her career before it started, Amanda shares the good, the bad, and the messy of her life, synthesizing lessons she’s learned along the way. Through it all, she offers an original perspective as a feminist on the front lines of celebrity culture. Edgy, irreverent, poignant and provocative, It’s Messy addresses the issues, concerns, and experiences relevant to women today.
About the Author
AMANDA DE CADENET is a creative force with a lifelong career in the media. She began as a host on British television at the age of fifteen and became a sought-after photographer shortly after—as a result her impressive photography career already spans nearly twenty years. She is the youngest woman ever to shoot a Vogue cover and has photographed many of the most influential figures in popular and political culture. As a media entrepreneur, Amanda is the creator of The Conversation, a series that showcases her in-depth interviews on real topics with celebrated women. Whether it’s in conversations with Lady Gaga, Sarah Silverman, Zoe Saldana, Chelsea Handler, or Gwyneth Paltrow, or in discussions with devoted followers of her social channels, Amanda delivers an honest and authentic voice. The series has aired in eighteen countries and is featured online, with over ten million viewers. In January 2016, Amanda conducted an exclusive one-on-one interview with presidential candidate Secretary Clinton. In February 2016, Amanda launched #Girlgaze, a digital media company utilizing user submitted content and highlighting the work of women Gen Z photographers and directors.
Tuesday, August 22nd: A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, August 23rd: Lit and Life
Thursday, August 24th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, August 28th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, August 29th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, August 30th: Comfy Reading
Thursday, August 31st: Book Hooked Blog
👉 Friday, September 1st: The Geeky Bibliophile 👈
Tuesday, September 5th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, September 6th: Wining Wife
Thursday, September 7th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, September 8th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Monday, September 11th: Literary Quicksand
TBD: Books & Tea