“Just image if we, the normal girls, stood united as an enormous, hysterical and proud army. We would be unstoppable.”
– Em Clarkson, author of Can I Speak to Someone in Charge?
First things first, I have never been that much of a reader. Even in school, I struggled through the majority of the assigned reading material, and despite the fact that my mother is a school librarian herself, I never found much excitement in a new book. Some of that, mind you, could come from the fact that I am an avid writer, so if asked to either spend my down time writing or reading, I will always pick writing.
Secondly, I had absolutely no idea who Emily Clarkson was – or what her blog Pretty Normal Me was even about until this past summer. So, the irony in the fact that I would find so much joy and comfort in reading a book by someone who I knew very little about. I first heard about Em – and her blog – through a tweet from Louise (remember her? I met her when I was in London) about a podcast that the two of them would be doing. Naturally, I decided to see what the podcast was about – and in turn doing so – realized that I also wanted to get to know more of Em’s thoughts, and read about the issues she discussed in her blog.
When I discovered her book was coming out, I decided it would be a perfect belated birthday/getting my student visa accepted present to myself, and I preordered it! A part of me knew about some of the topics she had chosen to focus on because of various mentions she had given in weeks prior, along with the discussion of a few of the chapters from the book itself. I didn’t realize until I actually received the book itself on how much I would be able to find myself relating to it.
The format of the book itself is told is a series of letters; to friends, to companies, to some of her personal belongings, to her readers, to herself, to anyone who has had an influence on her life but most importantly – to any woman who feels like they might not exactly fit society’s definition of a “normal” girl. A few of the chapters stood out to me much more than others – I have struggled with my appearance, the pressures of society to “fit in”, at various points in my academic life, and with friends throughout my life. Those were the ones that I found myself trying to keep from laughing at the moments I related to, nodding along in agreement, or at some points even trying to force myself to pause to reflect on what I had just read.
While I could go on for hours about how deeply parts of Can I Speak to Someone in Charge? resounded with me, I’ll say this instead – buy the book. Especially if you’re a young woman looking for a purpose in the world, someone to reassure you that your choices are yours, or just something that will make you laugh when you need to unwind. The entire book is written to empower us women – as young women – that we can do anything, choose any path, and live out the life that we aspire to live. Our rules are our own, and the pressures that we put on ourselves are of no fault of our own, but instead, society’s. And if you so aspire to, you can follow your dreams, accept the life you’ve been given, and know that – just because you’re a woman – you’re worthy of being in this world as much as anyone else.
Can I Speak to Someone in Charge can be bought through Amazon UK, and it ships worldwide!