March 29, 2020

#BookReview: Too Much: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today by Rachel Vorona Cote


Synopsis: Lacing cultural criticism, Victorian literature, and storytelling together, "TOO MUCH spills over: with intellect, with sparkling prose, and with the brainy arguments of Vorona Cote, who posits that women are all, in some way or another, still susceptible to being called too much." (Esmé Weijun Wang)

A weeping woman is a monster. So too is a fat woman, a horny woman, a woman shrieking with laughter. Women who are one or more of these things have heard, or perhaps simply intuited, that we are repugnantly excessive, that we have taken illicit liberties to feel or fuck or eat with abandon. After bellowing like a barn animal in orgasm, hoovering a plate of mashed potatoes, or spraying out spit in the heat of expostulation, we've flinched-ugh, that was so gross. I am so gross. On rare occasions, we might revel in our excess--belting out anthems with our friends over karaoke, perhaps--but in the company of less sympathetic souls, our uncertainty always returns. A woman who is Too Much is a woman who reacts to the world with ardent intensity is a woman familiar to lashes of shame and disapproval, from within as well as without. 

Written in the tradition of Shrill, Dead Girls, Sex Object and other frank books about the female gaze, TOO MUCH encourages women to reconsider the beauty of their excesses-emotional, physical, and spiritual. Rachel Vorona Cote braids cultural criticism, theory, and storytelling together in her exploration of how culture grinds away our bodies, souls, and sexualities, forcing us into smaller lives than we desire. An erstwhile Victorian scholar, she sees many parallels between that era's fixation on women's "hysterical" behavior and our modern policing of the same; in the space of her writing, you're as likely to encounter Jane Eyre and Lizzie Bennet as you are Britney Spears and Lana Del Rey. 
This book will tell the story of how women, from then and now, have learned to draw power from their reservoirs of feeling, all that makes us "Too Much."


Goodreads
Amazon

Rating: ★
My Review: Unfortunately, this book just wasn't for me at all. It was weird and contradictory
 to what the author states she is trying to do.  I did not fully even understand what the point of this book even was.  It felt like it was all over the place and that each chapter really just stood on their own and didn't build at all. 



Go Into This One Knowing: Weird and Confusing







"[Too Much is] written with passion for the subject and sustained attention, full of compelling prose and observations that will surely resonate with any woman familiar with straining against the edges of the shape she's expected to fit in."―Washington City Paper

"Cote, a former Victorian scholar, laces together cultural criticism, history, memoir, and theory in her debut work of nonfiction."―The Millions

"Vorona Cote weaves historical representation, theories and storytelling into a well-researched and timely novel."―Shereads.com

"Too Much is for all women who've been haunted, taunted and shamed for their emotions, joy, anger, laughter, sexuality or any other sort of excessive be-ing."―Ms. Magazine

"Readers whose tastes run from George Eliot to Lorde will embrace the book's feminist message."―Publishers Weekly

"[Vorona Cote] knows better than most how Victorian-era standards have been weaponized against fictional and real-life women, including Jane Eyre and Britney Spears, who have chosen freedom over conformity."―Bitch Magazine

"TOO MUCH spills over: with intellect, with sparkling prose, and with the brainy arguments of Vorona Cote, who posits that women are all, in some way or another, still susceptible to being called too much. Whether referring to Alice in Wonderland or Jessica Jones, self-harm or infidelity, this smart book dares women to find themselves within its pages, and to breathe a sigh of relief and recognition as they close the final page."―Esmé Weijun Wang, New York Times bestselling author of The Collected Schizophrenias

"Too Much is as lusty as a crush, as smart as a library, as exhilarating as an ocean breeze, as cathartic as shower-crying, as satisfying as eating a whole pint of ice cream, and as euphoria-inducing as taking off your bra at the end of a long day. Rachel Vorona Cote combines her expert knowledge of Victorian literature with wit, generosity, and feminist fire to write a hard-won and rousing defense of larger-than-life womanhood. If you ever feel like you have excessive feelings, desires, appetites, volume (loudness), volume (size), tears, or years, then this book is the book for you!"―Briallen Hopper, author of Hard to Love

"A fascinating exploration of how literature and pop culture have constructed (and exploded) our expectations of modern womanhood, this book is as gloriously defiant as the women it profiles. It's a necessary read for anyone who's ever wondered whether her 'muchness' is too much."―Robin Wasserman, author of Mother Daughter Widow Wife

"Too Much is such a fascinating, infuriating, and delightful addition to our understanding of unruliness, past and present, public and private. Cote combines the precision and wonder of the historian with the deft, accessible touch of the ex-academic. This book is a work of protest, but it is also one of deep, undeniable beauty."―Anne Helen Petersen, author of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud









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