We have probably all had moments of feeling overwhelmed and just wanting to stand and roar, frustrated with a task in hand or a more complex issue affecting many women in the world.
Cecelia Ahern has recognized this and written a stimulating collection of short stories which focus on many of the issues the modern woman lives with today.
The quotation by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton at the beginning of the book ‘I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers to big to ignore’, sets the theme for the book.
Each of the thirty stories in Roar concentrates on a woman at a different stage of her life, and facing a situation challenging to them at that particular time.
The author has chosen not to give these women names instead she refers to them as ‘the woman’. Each chapter is given a title such as ‘The woman who was kept on the shelf’, or ‘The Woman who forgot her Name’ which gives you an idea about the storyline. There is an element of fantasy in many of the cleverly written tales some of which I could relate to. By exaggerating the situations ‘the woman’ finds herself in, Ahern highlights and celebrates the strength and resilience of women and all their differences. Her punchy writing style accentuates the ideas she is trying to convey, ‘She starts by slowing down, taking timeout so she can read a book…
She goes away for a night with Paul.
She has a weekend away with friends.
She starts jogging….
She blows the feather off until everything is clear again, and she emerges from her fog.’
I enjoy a book of short stories, but I was quite overwhelmed with some of the messages in this collection so did not read more than one at a time, to give me time to absorb and reflect on the writing. It is a very worthwhile read and will appeal to a wide age group especially those who enjoy a quirky fairytale, which is sometimes sad but at times is also a witty exploration of what it is to be a woman in today’s world.
Cecelia Ahern is an Irish novelist whose first work was published in 2004, and since then she has won a number of book awards. Her books are now published in over forty countries and two of her books have been adapted as films.
Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh
by Cecelia Ahern
Published by HarperCollins