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Publisher's Summary

Edited and with an introduction by Roxane Gay, the New York Times best-selling and deeply beloved author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology of first-person essays read by all 30 contributors, including Gabrielle Union, Ally Sheedy, and Lyz Lenz, tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on.

*Vogue, “10 of the Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2018”

*Harper’s Bazaar, “10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018”

*Elle, “21 Books We’re Most Excited to Read in 2018”

*Boston Globe, “25 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018”

*Huffington Post, “60 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018”

*Hello Giggles, “19 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018”

*Buzzfeed, “33 Most Exciting New Books of 2018”

In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and best-selling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are "routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied" for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz.

Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Like Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, Not That Bad will resonate with every listener, saying "something in totality that we cannot say alone".

Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that "not that bad" must no longer be good enough.

The full list of narrators includes: Roxane Gay, Gabrielle Union, Ally Sheedy, Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, Claire Schwartz, Aubrey Hirsch, Jill Christman, Lynn Melnick, Brandon Taylor, Emma Smith-Stevens, A.J. McKenna, Lisa Mecham, Vanessa Mártir, xTx, Sophie Mayer, Nora Salem, V.L. Seek, Michelle Chen, Liz Rosema, Anthony Frame, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Miriam Zoila Pérez, Zoe Medeiros, Sharisse Tracey, Stacey May Fowles, Elisabeth Fairfield Stokes, Meredith Talusan, Nicole Boyce, and Elissa Bassist.

©2018 Roxane Gay (Compilation and introduction) (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Such a powerful and necessary collection!" (AudioFile)

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Powerful

These are powerful essays with unique perspectives on rape culture made stronger in the audio edition as each author reads her or his own work. Even if you're not a feminist or interested in the many ways people experience rape culture, these essays are well-crafted and engaging and the variety of voices and points of view will keep you listening.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Important.

As a survivor of abuse, this is the most healing book I've read. An important read for all people.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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tough but necessary

I hate that books like this have to exist but I'm grateful that this one does. All of the essays were powerful but the last one will stay with me forever and should be required reading for all high school aged kids, who should read it again while at university and then again post college and at least twice a year after that.

I also appreciated Roxane's explanation of "not that bad" I've often said this to myself and other women...I am ashamed of this fact. thank you for highlighting why it is all that bad.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Everyone should read this book

While I started listening to this book in early September, I didn't pick it up again until right before the Kavanaugh hearings. I'm not sure if this was excellent or poor timing, but it certainly added to the experience. All of the essays are extremely well written, and illustrate rape culture in many different ways. I also liked the the essays were fairly inclusive. Authors represented multiple races, cultures, gender identities and sexualities. While some stories mirrored my experiences more than others, all of the essays are relatable in their own way. Basically, this book turned my latent rage incandescent. I would recommend this book to literally everyone. Everybody should read this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The most moving book I've read this year

A collection of essays from a true variety of people reveals a true variety of experiences with rape culture. The thing you really take away from this book, however, is not the diversity of experiences but rather the common vein that runs through them. I could not recommend it more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A moving must-listen collection

I knew I would love this book before I hit play, but I didn't realize how moving it would be to listen to each author read their own stories. There's something about hearing the experiences literally in the writers own voices that had me shaking my head, dropping my jaw, nodding in agreement, and, more often than I expected, shedding tears. This is an important collection that deserves not only to be read but to be heard and acted upon. This is #rapeculture, from the worst of the worst to the "not that bad" moments that every woman has experienced and needs to stop explaining away. It's the rape culture behavior that needs to stop and this book is an important step in that direction. You will be effected by this book but you must read it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Reno, NV, United States
  • 11-25-18

Essential listening

Essential reading. I recommend listening, though — each writer narrates their own entry, and their voices add so much to the telling that I can’t imagine experiencing the book any other way (although I got the Kindle version, too). The essays are not about the rapes and assaults themselves but generally about how the writers dealt with the aftermath. It's all so nuanced and powerful. Most writers didn’t tell anybody, let alone report, what happened — although there’s one particularly memorable essay where a teenage girl tells everyone and no one believes her. This book couldn't help but make me think about those who say America doesn’t have a rape culture and point to a country where women are stoned to death for being raped — “Now that’s a rape culture,” they say. In this book, so many of the women downplayed their own trauma because at least it wasn’t as bad as if it'd been a stranger with a gun, a gang rape, or a murder, too. Their suffering was prolonged because they couldn't stop thinking of others who had it worse. The suffering caused by this country’s pervasive sexual violence and aggression will continue as long as people are given credence who say it’s not that bad compared with what’s happening over there. Grade: A

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missing something

I am thankful for all the strong people that shared their powerful stories here, and for all those that have shared theirs elsewhere. My heart goes out to them, but more so to those who have kept their story to themselves for one reason or another. I hope that I and everyone else that listens or reads this book is better for it, because we are missing something as a whole when this is so commonplace, and frustratingly worse when so ignored or excused.

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Eye opening for sure

As a male I never stopped and thought of all the daily interactions females had to experience and how the world was against them.

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Hear this now.

Heartbreaking and familiar. Somehow reassuring amid all of the terrible. Worth every minute. Worth every tear. Feels like hearing, "it's not just you."