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Not So Bad

Roxane Gay's Dispatches from Rape Culture is the book boys2men and girls2women need

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by Lee Paul, for outsideleft.com
I think Roxane Gay can maybe do anything

Anyone with a passing interest in literature might wonder why we're drawing attention to Not So Bad, right now, since it's been around for a couple of years and anyone with an eye even half open must've noticed that already, and so yeah, it's the sad fucking best OUTSIDELEFT can do to be, as they say, a day late and a dollar short in drawing attention to this hugely significant, scary collection of first person rape, sexual assault and harassment stories, written with grace, fortitude, dignity, resilience and resignation now, often underpinned with a chilling self-analysis, and gathered together by the amazing Roxane Gay.

This is not a book for passers by, it's not for those people dithering around on the other side of your garden fence, it's not like that. This is a book documenting an epidemic, the tiniest fraction of an epidemic. One of the ones our world accepts, probably as a cost of doing business, or something.

How the authors here have managed it, to share what happens after, long after, is a testimony to them. Nothing bad has happened to me ever and I have no trouble dismantling myself. So, how they hold it together...?

Wherever I go and sometimes that's a lot of places, and whenever I get there and begin to talk about Roxane Gay's Not So Bad, I so often get a blank look. Like, never heard of it look - the one I wear almost invariably when DJ Hothouse Malkin sends over a slice of classic vintage jazz-funk for me to hear. I miss out on a lot that should be unmissable and maybe you do too.

Anyway and also, I think we're pretty keen on the idea of reviewing books that are available for free at a local library and more specifically, and this is enormously limiting, perverse just to erect such arbitrary rule, I know, free in our case using our library's Borrow Box, which if this is another thing you don't already know, is like Kindle software without fees... You know Kindle, you 'buy' books but what if you stop using the platform? So... Borrow Box, round here is it. Go sign up if you aren't using it already and go too, to get hold of a copy of Roxane Gay's Not So Bad. If you're a man, woman, child, parent, friend... You need this book in your life. If you're a parent this is a book to give your children.

There are great writers in the world, Roxane Gay is one of them. Roxane writes fiction but perhaps is best known for her the non-fiction best sellers, Hunger, and Bad Feminist. She also co-wrote with Yona Harvey, Marvel comics' World of Wakanda. I think Roxane Gay can maybe do anything. Hannah Jane Parkinson is a great writer too, and her year-or-so-old piece about Not So Bad is here in the Guardian, and is where you could begin if you don't believe you need this book in your life.

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Lee Paul

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