Published by Velvet Morning Press on April 11, 2016
Genres/Lists: #30Authors, Fiction, Gender-Based Books
Read synopsis on Goodreads
I received this book for free from the author.
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As a woman in the workforce, I have experienced sexism. I have been patted on the head and told I’m doing a good job, was informed at age 17 that I couldn’t work Friday nights because the boys wouldn’t listen to me, and have had sexism mansplained to me in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s with the excuse that this sexism isn’t as bad as it could be and with others it’s the flat out dismissal of my ideas, only to be co-opted and embraced when a male colleague says it. It’s infuriating but I’ve always pushed back. I was never patted on the head again, did work Friday nights, and started pointing out every single sexist comment, explaining that qualifying sexism is still sexism and is, by the way, illegal. Although there were times I thought my jobs were certainly in jeopardy, the situations usually improved. Some of these men were completely oblivious to their actions while others didn’t care at all, but I’d like to think that they are better employers and colleagues now (even though it’s probably not true).
I share this because blatant sexism in the workplace is the premise of The Creepshow by Adria J. Cimino. This is the story of a woman named Wanda, a financial wiz who is subjected to impossible standards and lewd advances following her return from maternity leave. Wanda is a peacekeeper and single mom, so for a while she puts up with the mistreatment because she needs her job. But at some point, with the help of her best friend, she decides to push back and chaos ensues.
In The Creepshow, Cimino tells two stories in one. The first is about the rampant sexism and the very real events playing out in Wanda’s life. The second is Wanda’s personal story, including her adjusting to life as a single mom, her friendships, and her love interest. The two stand in stark contrast to each other but come together in a way that allows the reader to root for Wanda in both her personal and professional life. There were times when I was so focused on Wanda’s plight that I forgot about her personal life and vice versa, allowing me to be both outraged by and enjoy the story at the same time.
That said, The Creepshow is written in a linear, journalistic fashion, with a clear trajectory from beginning to end. It blends reporting and storytelling, which is a unique style that I enjoyed and typically only find in heavy, historical fiction books. This approach makes sense because Cimino has a background in journalism and it lends an air of non-fiction to a novel. This, too, makes sense because Wanda’s experiences are all to real for a lot of woman. So while I don’t have kids and couldn’t identify with her on that note, I could identify with her when it came being treated poorly for being a woman. The end result was that I read the book within 24 hours and was reminded that the world has a long way to go.
Recommended for: Women who have experienced sexism in the workplace and want to read about it without being overwhelmed by it.