Book Review – Basic Witches
Ssup, baby weirdos? Been MIA for a few days but I’m back with the blog’s first book review! This nook is called Cat, Books and Curls for a reason, right?
We’re going to kick this tradition with a book that was a bit of an issue for me. If we’re going to build a relationship based on honesty here I should tell you when I both love and hate a book, or anything, am I right? So CBC’s first book review goes to the last book I read in 2017, Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and raise Hell with Your Coven.
Author(s): Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman
Published by: Quirky Books
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Self Help, Feminism
Goodreads ratings: ★★★ (3.63)
My rating: ★★ (2)
Where to find it: Amazon.
I want to start this review by saying ALWAYS READ THE GOODREADS SYNOPSIS ON THE BOOK. ALWAYS. If you have this option (sometimes you’re looking for an older book or one that hasn’t been cataloged there yet, it happens), go there and do it. If I had read “capitalizing on the rising trend of hipster witchcraft”, I would have said girl bye to this book in two seconds. Instead, I saw a book with “witches” on the title and went straight to Amazon to spend my precious money on it.
Here’s the thing with Basic Witches… it is not a witchcraft book. Not in the slightest. Not a book about legitimate witchcraft or Wicca. Nada. There are some references here and there, some dabbling in divination, funny words about stereotypes on witches and even random rituals that I will say, they did some research before adding to the book. But it is not a book on witchcraft, and that was my problem with it. As Goodreads so very honestly and eloquently says, it is a book that is capitalizing massively in the current rising Tumblr witch trend, and that is not a good thing. Understanding the figure of the witch within time and history, raising awareness for it, and propagating knowledge on witchcraft and the ways of the witches is one thing. But adding a long list of trends and memes to it and putting all witches in a little bubble of girls wearing dark lipstick is another, and not a nice one.
Sure, the book brings some interesting stories about how witches have been viewed and portrayed since the beginning of times, but those are all references leading to deeper discussion on feminism. WHICH IS AMAZING, I am not, never will be, taking the credit off of the book for raising such topics. That is what this book is, a book on feminism for young girls, for millennials. It talks about self-acceptance and self-love, relationships on every aspect of life and yes, many good topics that should constantly be discussed within our feminine communities. And by the Goddesses, keep on writing about them! Keep on talking about everything that bothers patriarchy! But why use the imagine of women that have fought so hard, just so your book would sell some extra copies?
Witches have been feminists for centuries indeed and burned for it, use them as an exemple always. Just don’t assume we all fall into one description (no woman does, thank you very much) and do not use us as a hipster coveted concept just to make a few extra bucks, you know what I’m saying?
I intended to add this book to a series of witchy books I’m making here, but I won’t. Basic Witches goes on in the regular nonfiction section and that’s okay with me.
So in the end, my advice with this book is not “don’t read it”, but “know what you want to read before you buy it”. If you’re looking for a book on witchcraft, to actually learn anything about it, or Wicca, or the old ways of the witches, don’t go near it. If what you want now is a funny book on matters you’re yet dabbling on such as feminism, sexuality and self-love, then give it a try. The illustrations are adorable, by the way.
And always keep an open and inquiring mind about any book you read, ok? Promise me you’ll do that! Don’t just accept everything you see or read without a following “why” or “how”. Questioning, hearing other opinions and version and learning more is what makes us better people. It sure as hell makes us better witches!
Stay true, kitten, stay awesome.