Hey everyone! Today is release day for a collection of essays by gal-dem, published by Walker Books! I’m going to be totally honest, I had not heard of gal-dem before being invited to review this book so I had to do a little research. Basically, they are a group of women and non-binary people of colour who run an online magazine promoting writers from marginalised groups. I think this is such a great initiative and I’m really glad I got the chance to read this book.
Fourteen joyous, funny and life-affirming essays from gal-dem, the award-winning magazine created by young women and non-binary people of colour.
gal-dem, the award-winning online and print magazine, is created by women and non-binary people of colour. In this thought-provoking and moving collection of fourteen essays, gal-dem’s writers use raw material from their teenage years – diaries, poems and chat histories – to explore growing up. gal-dem have been described by the Guardian as “the agents of change we need”, and these essays tackle important subjects including race, gender, mental health and activism, making this essential reading for any young person.
Now obviously, I have to start out by saying that I do not come from a marginalised background. Maybe some people will think that should have disqualified me from commenting on this book but I disagree. I think books like this are so important, not only in giving marginalised readers a place where they can be seen and heard, but also in educating readers like myself who come from a more privileged social position. I’m really glad to see the publishing industry making an effort to provide us with more literature like this and giving everyone the representation they deserve.
I will say that even though I couldn’t necessarily relate to the struggles of the writers on a fundamental level (ie. I’m not a person of colour), there were still themes that resonated with me very deeply. I think this book is a great gateway to opening up some important conversations and I genuinely hope it finds its way into schools because this should be required reading for all young people.
In terms of the book itself, it was extremely readable. Each essay is only a few pages long and punctuated with cute illustrations, meaning it is easy to dip in and out of when you have a few spare minutes. I was really intrigued by the authors’ use of real raw material such as poems and diary entries from their teenage years. I thought this really added to the emotion throughout the book.
And wow, was there a lot of emotion. My heart broke for these young girls. Knowing that bullying and racism like this occurs is one thing but to have it written down on the page in front of you is difficult and eye-opening. I can only hope that things have improved from when these women were going through their teenage years, and that we will all continue to learn and improve. Books like this are surely a great step forward in educating people.
Overall, this is an important and necessary collection that I think everyone should read. Thank you to Walker Books for providing me with a free copy!
What are some books you think are important? Let me know in the comments! x