Men Explain Things To Me didn’t do much for me at all. To some extent it’s probably down to unmet expectations – I was expecting a witty takedown of mansplaining, and instead got some angry, unconnected thoughts on male violence, rape, and – inexplicably – Virginia Woolf. Considering that the blurb describes the chief essay as “comic” and promises that Solnit will be “airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters”, I don’t think it was wrong of me to assume that, well, that would happen? Instead she talks about this one time one man lectured at her, and that’s about it.
The rest of the book is a collection of essays that touch on topics like the Stubenville rape case and the Dominiqe Strauss-Kahn allegations. There’s also a lot of writing about Virginia Woolf, presumably because Solnit didn’t have enough material for a cohesive collection and decided to bung in something tenuously linked to her title topic because she liked the sound of her own writing. It was a very quick read, and one that I’ve taken even less away from.
[Read from 26-27 June 2017]