Colorful bouquet of butterflies

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Short story satire

WARNING: this book is 18+ only

Written by several incredible activists, Caitlin Kunkel, Brooke Preston, Fiona Taylor, and Carrie Wittmer, this is the funniest book I’ve read all year. It’s all about taking negative social narratives and turning them on their heads. Without a basic understanding of how and why American cultural values are in place, this book wouldn’t make an ounce of sense. But, for anyone who’s ever watched a movie and wished that there were more female characters or that the story was less about “will they won’t they” and more about “they complement one another for more than just how hot they both are”.

The 18+ aspect of this book was new to me. Erotic books have never really been my thing. Sure, I'll read some sensual poetry or a PG-13 YA book once in a while, but saucy stories... meh. This book though. WOW. It's funny, accurate, inclusive, and it gave me butterflies. There are plenty of pop culture references to singers, actors, and films. Of course, there are the bigger  names like Oprah or Beyoncé, but there are plenty of niche mentions too.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at UNC Charlotte. But I would also recommend this to anyone who’s ever cried at the oppression enacted against every person from every walk of life. There are conversations concerning things like breast-feeding in public, sexual revolutions, plus-size shaming, and racial inclusivity. It should, however, be noted that all four of these authors are white, cisgender women. Fortunately, they do take the time to acknowledge this privilege. Most of the pieces in this book are targeted towards genderless readers with genderless/unspecific pronouns scattered throughout. This makes it easier to put oneself in the story without feeling any sort of dysphoria or disconnect.

The subtitle of this work really says it all: “satirical fantasies of love, lust, and equal pay”. I found this book both racy and absolutely hilarious. There are so many nuances, wordplay, and puns in every short story.

Here are some excerpts that had me crying, cry-laughing, and texting my sister to tell her about the complete Twitter-esque gold-mine that is this book:

1. Ed Sheeran releases a new single called "I'm in Love with Your Body of Work" about Agatha Christie. It sells nine billion copies (more than there are people on the earth).

2. "I'm here for you, Rose! Here's a giant door you can float on so you won't die of hypothermia." "Let's share it, Jack! Based on my intimate knowledge of your body and my fairly advanced understanding of physics, I can tell that the cubic space available to us on this door would more than support our combined body weight when contrasted with the incredible buoyancy of salt water." "Rose, I wish I had a good education like you," Jack says, climbing on. They both live.

3. “She’s such a MILF,” the venture capitalist says, staring longingly at the woman striding confidently out of the conference room. “Seriously.” Our CFO gives a low, drawn-out whistle of approval. “Now that is a Mom I’d Like to Fund. Her use-acquisition and retention rates are simply unparalleled.”

4. During our daily FaceTime, I mentioned I was having a bad day. An hour later, my doorbell rang. And there he was, flowers in hand, with just the tip of a firm baguette rising from his Whole Foods bag. “I’m making you homemade spaghetti,” says my friend and the internet’s boyfriend Jeff Goldblum. “Ummmm, Jeff… This is really sweet, but just so you know, I have a partner.” “I know! Of course I know that! This is for both of you amazing humans! We must embrace the ephemeral beauty of each day, of each, ah, ah, fleeting, ah, moment! Now is it okay if I also clean your bathroom while quoting your favorite lines from Jurassic Park and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou?”

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