I am not quite sure how to go about describing what it is like to read a book you have been waiting a long time to read even though you weren’t sure whether or not it existed. It is a fantastic experience. Every page feels packed with meaning and import. Overwhelemed by Brigid Schulte was just such a book for me and I loved EVERY GODDAMN PAGE. Perhaps if you imagine some firework- and people cheering excitedly-type gifs about here you will get a feel for how awesome this book was.
So what is the book actually about? It is a book about feminism in action. And I don’t mean it’s a debate about whether or not lipstick and high heels are pro- or anti- woman. It is about the home, the workplace, childcare, quality of life.
Overwhelemed is the answer to a big and complicated question: Can women have it all? The answer has to begin with another question, namely, “Can men have it all?” Women need to have equal responsibilities in the workplace, just as men need to have equal responsibilities in the home. This book is about how everyone needs to change their expectations, their attitudes and their behaviours for this to be achieved. Shulte address the prejudices against men (namely, that they are expected to be emotionless breadwinners) as well as against women (who many still expect to be nothing more than walking, talking extensions of a nurturing nipple). Without looking at the whole picture, which includes both men and women, we are never going to arrive at a full answer to the problem.
Despite the very urgent and important nature of this book, I can honestly say that it was a joy to read. It was not depressing or bogged down in dense prose, it was everyday and down to earth and chatty and honest. It was full of hope and it has inspired me to be excited about life. It discussed problems and solutions. Solutions which feel totally achievable. Overwhelmed is one of the most life-changing books I think I will ever have the pleasure to read, and I genuinely hope plenty of others read it too.