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Review: Fern Brady - Strong Female Character 2023-09-20

Book Type
  1. Hardcover
Fern Brady
This is not meant to be an educational book: it’s a memoir. And what a memoir. Fern’s memoir is funny, sad, touching, thought-provoking and infuriating.

I was a few chapters into her audiobook when I decided I needed to buy the physical copy of this book too, so I could give it to my loved ones. And then I read the physical copy within a day.

So, now that the praises have been sung, on to my description.
First off: if you feel strongly about profanity, this book is not for you.

The story follows Fern’s life journey from the time she was a young girl in a conservative catholic working class family, up to her difficulty obtaining diagnosis and the aftermath of that.
Telling the story of the girl that never quite fit in, trying to use book learning to crack the code of socializing and being labeled a problem child for not being able to fit into neurotypical society, she really broke my heart.

The way she writes about these experiences is still funny, though. Brutal honesty and deadpan jokes work well for me. And maybe it’s because I am her age and because my life path has been very similar to hers, I just felt an instant kinship while reading her story. I laughed and I cried and I obsessed.

While I hadn’t really expected to learn anything new from this book, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of research included in here, as well as the questions Fern poses about the way we look at women in society.
Having women be underdiagnosed because autism diagnosis is still mostly based on the way it characteristically presents in men is no news. But she raises many interesting points concerning hyperfocus in relationships, attitude towards sexuality and intimacy and general ideas about how we expect women to behave in public.

I’m reading my review and I feel like I’m selling the book short, horribly. I can just say I love this book and will read it many times over. And my friends are glad I finished it so I stopped texting them about whatever interesting thing I just read. Now I just keep asking them if they’ve read it yet ;)

TLDR: memoir. Funny, sad, thought provoking. Mature themes and profanity. 10/10 would recommend if you’re into that sort of thing.

A note: if you decide to go for the audiobook, I would suggest listening to a snippet at first. She has a thick accent. It was not a problem for me, but I know several friends couldn’t understand it.
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