This is another one of those books that I have had for years, but have just recently read! In fact, my good friend Andrea just taught this book as a Book and Discussion class and the great conversations that erupted from this topic really intrigued me to read it sooner rather than later.
As we all know, when males are aggressive, we typically see it plain as day -- they fight physically with their fists. With females, oftentimes, they do not resort to the physical aggression that is typically seen in males. However, that does not mean that girls are lacking on the aggressive front. It just means that they are just a little sneakier about it! If you are a girl, my guess is that you know exactly what I mean!
As a teenager that was growing up in a very small town, I experienced this type of aggression and bullying from both sides. Yes, I will be honest . . . I both was a victim and even a bully at times. And, I feel horrible about it! I remember one particular instance in which I was in third grade . . . I had written a note and secretly passed it to a friend of mine. It was about another kid in the class and had said mean things about his weight. He found it! I apologized, but I still feel horrible about that note today. I also remember the back-stabbing, the subtle and not-so-subtle jabs about me and my beliefs and values. Though I do believe that ALL of my experiences have helped to shape me into the person I am today, I sometimes still wish that I did not have to experience some of the "stuff" that I dealt with during my teen years.
As an adult, I have also witnessed the bullying and aggression first-hand of girls today. From the little ones in first and second grade to even adults older than I am now, this subtle aggression is still happening. And, I believe it goes beyond the teen years. I am so thankful for this book that puts it all out there. It is no longer a "silent crisis" today. This covert aggression is just as damaging (if not more so from an emotional or psychological perspective) than the overt aggression and it needs to be addressed heads on. This book and even just excerpts of it can serve as a great stepping stone to these conversations - whether you are an adult trying to heal or a parent wanting to address it with your child.
My recommendation: If you are a woman or a parent to a daughter, then you MUST read this book! It not only normalizes these covert actions -- the cold shoulder, the back-stabbing, the joking comments that have truth hidden within them -- but also gives the reader ways to address the problem.
The child rhyme of "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" may have been the mantra in past years, but the message is now stronger than ever that it is wrong! Names and words, and the lack there of, can and will hurt!