Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Yorkshire, where I live, is especially known for its damp weather. At the time of writing, we are heading towards the Bank Holiday. I have some grass to rake and it is currently teeming down with rain. It's at times like these, I need either a) a good book, b) an uplifting film or c) both. In the case of Moxie, I had both!.
I did the unthinkable and watched the film before reading the book. The movie adaptation is on Netflix and directed by Amy Poehler from Parks and Rec fame. Amy Poehler stays pretty faithful to the book with a few exceptions, mostly around the secondary characters.
Vivian is sick of her small town Texas school. A school that places the happiness of its star football players above everything else. The teachers perform dress code inspections, telling girls to dress appropriately in case their clothes are a distraction to the male members of school. A game of 'Bump and Grind' is allowed to take place in the school corridors and is dismissed as harmless fun. Stumbling across her mother's box of riotgrrl memorabilia including zines she created to smash the system, Vivian is inspired to create a zine of her own calling out the behaviour at school and encouraging Moxie girls to fight back. And Moxie takes off and becomes a movement for all, forging friendships across cultural, racial and gender divides.
If you want something to get you out of a funk, then I would heartily recommend this. It's fun, joyful, and not remotely preachy. Vivian is very likeable, angry at what she sees with girls often told to 'make me a Sandwich' implying they should be in the kitchen. She is amazed at the response that Moxie gets while remaining anonymous and realising that Moxie is more than what she started.
Relationships are beautifully handled, especially the acceptance of each other's differences and opinions. Vivian's tentative first relationship with Seth is explored beautifully as she is awkward in this situation. I thought the relationship with her mother, a riotgrrl of her own was lovingly explored. Especially as her mother is embarking on a relationship of her own with someone of a very different political persuasion. But this helps to reinforce the message that it is OK to be on different sides of the fence, but listen and grow.
The message is extremely important. I went to High School in the mid 1980s and remember a list circulating of the prettiest girls, beating myself up for slightly caring if I was on the list. It's just wrong. The book questions these attitudes. It is not preachy or virtue signalling. And it is joyful, celebrating women for who they are and what they will become as well as celebrating the men who support them.
This book is entertaining, fun, joyful and makes me proud of all the strong women I have in my life. So, in conclusion, put some fun in your life, watch the movie, read book and let yourself feel all the warm fuzzies.
I'll be back on Tuesday next week and going forward will be posting on Tuesday and Friday. I'm trying to mix it up a little bit and will be doing some slightly different types of posts, all still focusing on books and reading of course. Have a great weekend.