ARC was provided by NetGalley and Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.
This review is being published after the release date (October 27th, 2020)
Content/Trigger Warnings: Talk of harassment, talk of sexual harassment, talk of cyber bullying, talk of misogyn, themes of misandry
I’ll be honest, I’ve been dreading writing this review and have been putting this off for far too long. I really wanted to love this book and there were some things that I found really helpful, informative even, especially because I’ve been in various nerdy communities for such a long time, but I find that my opinion is going to be of the minority when it comes to this book. So take my review with a grain of salt. However, if you’re a reader who’s looking for some opposing thoughts on a lot of the content that’s talked about in this book then I can’t recommend enough checking out these following videos: HERE, HERE, and if you’re looking for statics about online harassment then I recommend checking this article out!
Let me take a moment to talk about the good of this book. This book is true to what it is; a guide book, a self-help book, however you want to view it. I really loved how this book talked about the different types of conventions, navigating the conventions, budgeting and expenses, and even things to pack. Despite the fact that I’ve gone to various conventions, events, etc… for almost fourteen years, I still find this kind of information helpful and good for referencing. There’s even an ‘after the convention’ list that I would’ve loved to have had after all of these years. There’s also interviews in this book with various women in the industry who have worked on a plethora of nerdy, geeky things such as anime, DC and Marvel, etc… that I enjoyed reading, despite the repetitiveness and the awkwardness of some of the interviews. Also, this is a super quick read and most sections are very brief, easy to fly through.
Despite the few good things I found within this book, they weren’t enough to prevent the issues I had with a lot of the content within this book. One of the biggest things being the continued theme of misandry throughout this book. This is a huge issue for me especially when no one wants to talk about how this book is set up to convince you men are terrible and do nothing but terrible things. Throughout this book, the author continuously references how we’re all in this community together, how we’re supposed to be supportive of one another, no matter the gender, for about one to two pages, and then will spend the next three or four pages talking about how horrible men are and how their actions are always terrible towards women in nerdy communities. There’s actually a whole entire section based around ‘internet trolls’ that’s based in the context of assuming they’re all male. Even when the author talks about sexual harassment and assault in the cosplaying community, it’s always in the context of a man doing these actions. I can’t speak for everyone in the community, but basing my opinion on my own experiences and things I have witnessed as a cosplayer and LARPer, I’ve experienced and witnessed more female/female and male/male harassment and sexual assault than I have any situations that are male/female related. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but what I’m saying is we need to make sure we’re accurately talking about what really happens instead of assuming/creating a certain narrative to fit our own views. And when you continuously place these narratives of one side being innocent/good and the other being guilty/evil, then you’re continuing to cause rifts and issues within communities instead of helping it grow and make it a more positive community to be in.
Overall, this book was exhausting to read and writing this review has been something I’ve been dreading for a long time now, for a plethora of reasons. I don’t have the energy or time to list the multiple references to a lot of the things that were inaccurately talked about throughout this book (do your own research, listen to those who talk about the facts), point out every little thing that was wrong with this book, or even try to continuously explain to people how misandry is just as bad as misogyny no matter what community it is. If you can’t see the problematic issues within this book then I don’t know what else to say expect to check out the links I provided up above if you want to hear opposing opinions about a lot of the things that were talked about in this book. I wish so many things would have been handled in a different light especially since this is an introductory book, a guide/self help book and I know there are going to be young readers who will pick this book up and be influenced by this book. With the knowledge and experience I have, I can’t recommend this book because of the narrative this book takes on and I can’t support a book that inaccurately talks about a plethora of things.
4 thoughts on “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Universe by Sam Maggs”
thank you for still reviewing this book despite all the things that were wrong with it ! i didn’t even know this book existed until your post and my first thought was this cover is cute & i was fixing to add to my tbr pile but i continued on with your review and realized ah this may not be the one for me . it’s sad to see that people still are making men to be this ” terrible thing ” when women are just as in the wrong as men . we can’t just assume things ! i wish more people understood that T.T
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Yeah, it’s something I’ve been continuously seeing in a lot of books lately. I’ve removed A LOT of books from my ‘want to read’ list because a lot of opposing reviews mentioned the man hatred. Usually, I try to steer clear of these types of books because there have been people in the book community who publicly drag those who point out what’s problematic with misandry. So if I’m being entirely honest, I wasn’t even sure I was going to write this review because of that factor alone. But I’m glad you still read my review. Any time someone tells me they read my review, it makes my heart so warm!
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ahhhh i’m so glad that i warmed your heart! i’m trying to get better at actually commenting and reading on other’s blogs because i miss doing it.
i feel that those that drag others for pointing out flaws in books are more problematic themselves. but what can you do, there will always be those types of people in the world unfortunately. just know, that i will ALWAYS appreciate your reviews that point out the problematic things in books as it’s nice knowing since it gives you a heads up before reading, if you decide to actually continue reading the book. [ it’s kinda like a trigger / content warning in of itself – which i believe all books should have btw ]
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I love reading other’s blog posts! And there’s some really amazing blogs out there that cover such a wide variety of topics and reviews.
Yeah, that’s very true. I try to make sure I point those things out because a lot of times it feels like not many readers/reviewers want to talk about certain problematic topics or issues, but I find it’s really important. Also, I think it can be really taxing on your mental health, too. I know for myself especially when I take thorough notes, finding all the content and trigger warnings can be very draining at times. Plus, it’s a lot of work. So I think many readers try to avoid addressing those kind of topics because it’s so harsh on a person’s mentality.
I really appreciate you saying that though. When I write my reviews and when I bring up these things, I do it because I want a reader to be informed and for them to have a better reading experience. So hearing that really means a lot to me!
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