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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Have you ever imagined a different life? Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided? Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar?

International bestseller Cecelia Ahern brings stories for all of us: the women who befriend us, who encourage us, who make us brave. Ahern’s collection of thirty stories about thirty different women is touching, and at times hilarious. In each story the woman discovers her strength, and realises that she holds the power to make change.

The stories turn common preconceptions or beliefs on their heads. Each story challenges society’s stereotypes of the many roles women hold. She covers a lot of topics, including birth control, refugees, ageing and competition between women.

Each story is a deliberate exaggeration of situations. Each highlights the strengths, possibilities and uniqueness of the women.

However, at times it felt a little too forced. The Woman Who Was Swallowed Up By The Floor was one such story. While it was meant to be about the woman’s anxiety in social situations, anyone regardless of gender can feel anxious.

The collection is a bit of a mixed bag – a little like reality. There were some ‘women’ I liked, others that irritated me and some that I downright did not like at all.

The Woman Who Forgot Her Name and The Woman Who Found Bite Marks on Her Skin were particular favourites. Both dealt with aspects of motherhood – the loss of identity and the guilt of the working mother. The Woman Who Was Kept on the Shelf and The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared made me think and reflect. The Woman Who Ordered the Seabass Special made me grateful for my female friendships and a little inspired. While the story was a little predictable, it was sweet and heartfelt.

The Woman Who Guarded Gonads was also a little too predictable. The role reversal around birth control has been well covered, and it felt like Ahern missed the chance to add a new take to it. Despite this, it still made me smile purely for the ridiculousness that women have to face in regards to their reproductive health.

However, other stories were too weird and failed to fire. The Woman Who Walked in her Husband’s Shoes failed to hit the mark, as did The Woman Who Wore Pink. Both were seemingly about gender identity, yet they were both missing the extra spark that some of the other stories had.

While most people will find a handful of stories within that they really relate to and therefore will love, the remainder of the book will irritate and disappoint. Ahern really could have pushed the boundaries with this book, but unfortunately it is more of a whimper than a Roar.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

HarperCollins Publishers, RRP $32.99


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