review: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

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{Source: GoodReads.com}

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I greatly appreciated the chance to read this book!

Official Synopsis
Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and one of the most inspiring leaders in the world—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality. This is the story at the heart of My Life on the Road.

Review
What a delightful read.

Although – hand on heart – I am a feminist through and through, I don’t/didn’t know a lot about Gloria Steinem. I read her interview in Lenny (Lena Dunham’s newsletter) and found her to be intriguing and funny. So I was anxious to get started with this book.

In recounting her “life on the road” as a nomad, Steinem could be staid or depressing – after all, she has seen a lot of history that would be unpleasant to think about, AND had a lot of men figuratively and literally pat her on the head and call her “dear” or “honeybun” (you know it happened).

Thankfully, Steinem is a pleasure to spend time with. What’s more, she comes across as genuine, intelligent, warm and openhearted. This is inspirational to me, as I cannot even imagine the vitriol she’s had directed her way throughout her journey in feminism and fighting for equality.

The most fascinating thing to me about this collection of stories is that none of them are designed to make Steinem seem ‘more’. She does not seek to become ‘more’ important, ‘more’ liked, or ‘more’ in any sense. Instead, she shines the glow on others – her father (who inspired her to travel, learn and grow), taxi drivers, servers, college students, and others she has met while traveling. These chance encounters and brief conversations have all served to inform Steinem’s views on the world and its inhabitants. She comes across as grateful and appreciative of these experiences and encounters, no matter how minor they might seem to an outside perspective.

Highly recommended – this is a lovely read, and offers a new and fresh look at Steinem’s past, as well as the birth and rise of the feminist movement. Further, it’s a deeply moving rumination on the importance of every day encounters and of paying attention – no matter the occasion.

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