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What Would Boudicca Do?

Sage advice for 21st century feministas

The intro to What Would Boudicca Do? by Elisabeth Foley and Beth Coates, a cheerfully irreverent advice guide for young women, tells us that ‘life can be troublesome for modern gals.’ Whether it’s being generally underestimated, or dealing with the specifics of bullying, body shaming, or toxic relationships, our girls are still, in 2018, living under the shadow of centuries of patriarchal oppression. But what of our foresisters, those who lived in a world where feminism hadn’t even been invented? Take a dip into this collection of everyday problems as tackled by inspirational women in history. Your very own agony aunts from a bygone past.

What Would Boudicca Do? surfs the wave of the current publishing trend for all things feminist, presenting a clever new perspective. Are you experiencing boyfriend troubles? Well, Dorothy Parker can help you with that. Or worried you have an addictive personality? Betty Ford most definitely sympathises.

Each chapter examines a fabulous famous female and the dilemma they struggled to overcome. As well as the obvious candidates, Boudicca showing us how to stick up for ourselves, there are unexpected voices too, and it’s these I enjoyed most.

Did you know that 75% of women still take their husband’s name? Find out what Amelia Earhart has to say on the subject. And as for coping with the trauma of not being hot, well George Eliot did it with panache, and proved that ‘you don’t need to be young and hot to get laid.’

Humorous and informative, this is the perfect book to dip in and out of. It’s aimed squarely at feisty young feministas, and I confess to finding some of the language grating at times. Do teenagers really use the word ‘adult’ as a verb? As in, ‘it’s part of adulting’ to be financially savvy. Oh well, a minor gripe from a relative oldie. Buy this for your girls as a prelude to launching them into the wonderful books of Caitlin Moran.

What Would Boudicca Do? by Elisabeth Foley and Beth Coates is published by Faber and Faber, 320 pages.

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