Backwards in High Heels: The Impossible Art of Being Female

Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels. This famous assertion is the headline of Tania Kindersley and Sarah Vine’s modern guide to life as a woman. The tone is friendly and the advice is cheering. It was a supreme joy to read. It is the antidote to all the women’s literature and magazines that proscribe strict beauty regimes, career plans and parenting perfection that amount to an implausible, and frankly tiring, way to live. By drawing from their own life experience, they provide a guide that is sensitive to the complexities of modern life and celebrates a range of female achievements and lifestyle choices.

The wittily titled chapters are brief enough to dip in to, but still retain impressive depth of insight and understanding. For example, ‘The Art of Reconciling the Fantasy World of Work Painted for Your Younger Self With the Mundane and Often Alarming Adult Reality’, ‘How To Call in the Perspective Police’ and ‘How To Read a Fashion Magazine Without Wanting To Cut Your Head Off With a Penknife’ were particularly pleasing and heartening.

It covers multiple facets of life including love, loss, philosophy, friendship, finance, age and politics. Additionally, the ‘Practical Chapter’ has everything from recipes to how to deal with a bore. As well as being thoroughly useful, it is a beautiful book. The illustrations throughout are charming and it even comes with a ribbon to keep your page! They really have thought of everything.

Every woman should read this book. It is honest, helpful and ultimately reassuring. Their positive spin on old age has me rather looking forward to it!

‘Things you can do as you get old.

–          Never again have to go to the gym and do physical jerks while an idiot in a leotard shouts things like, ‘Yeah, ladies, take it to the max!’

–          Admit that you like going to bed at 9.30 with a good book…

–          Never have to sit at a bus stop in a very small skirt at 3am waiting for the N70…

–          Take as long as you damn well need to pull out at junctions…

–          Stop making excuses.

–          Keep the radio permanently tuned to Radio Four.

–          Pretend selective deafness.’

Buy it, find it, borrow it; it is wise and liberating.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Backwards in High Heels: The Impossible Art of Being Female

  1. What a lovely review; thank you so much. It’s always immensely cheering to discover that a book still has a life years after it has been published and is not just mouldering on a dusty shelf at the back of the bookshop. Finding your kind review has put a smile on my face.

    Like

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