Wear your pride

Anjali Jhangiani
Saturday, 6 April 2019

ROAR - THIRTY WOMEN, THIRTY STORIES
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publisher: HarperCollins 
Pages: 352 
Price: Rs 399

Women might walk around all strong and tough, and why not? It’s 2019, feminism is here and we’re ruling the world. Women are not only making the cut, but knocking the competition out of the ring. All this glory is just one side of things though. On the flip side, we’re conflicted. We’re eaten up by the guilt of pushing forward and making our lives better, making choices that will make us happier and refusing to put up with the utter nonsense we’ve had to since the beginning of time. 

Cecelia Ahern’s latest release, Roar — a compilation of 30 stories of 30 women —  holds a mirror up to your face and shows you all the fears you really want to brush under the carpet. You find yourself in little bits and pieces in all the stories that you read. The story of the woman whose pent-up guilt erupts into bite marks all over her body, makes me think of all the times I’ve felt guilty for going to the spa, or on a shopping spree and spent the dough that I’ve worked so hard for. All the times I’ve felt guilty for ending a relationship which was making me miserable. All times I’ve felt selfish for choosing my happiness over that of others. It makes me question why we don’t allow ourselves the little luxuries we know we deserve.  

I felt like shouting out to the woman who is kept on a shelf and telling her to run, break free, let it go, not hold herself back anymore. But would I do it if I was in that position? Would I have taken the steps that I so enthusiastically encourage her to take? It makes me think of how blissfully ignorant old-schoolers make a big deal out of India having lower divorce rates than the West. And how wrong they are to rejoice in this because of all the women who are ‘kept on the shelf’ by their good-for-nothing husbands. 

Perhaps the most relatable story among the lot is the one where the floor swallows a woman, who goes underground just to meet so many other women who were gobbled up, just like her. This book gives female readers a nudge on the elbow and tells them that whatever fears they are struggling to hide, they aren’t alone. Every woman is facing fears she might not want to admit to, in fact, sometimes she might not even realise it. 

The book is a great read for men, who seem to be thoroughly confused about what women want. This book gives them a peek into the minds of women who are constantly fighting patriarchy — and who may these women be? All women.

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