ARC | Book Review #129 – Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay


Here you have my review for Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay.

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Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State and the New York Timesbestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.

The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister’s marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.



  • fenomenal writing
  • different collection of genres



  • most stories fall into this violent and abusive sexual behavior that left me pretty uncomfortable
  • since most have this in common, they kinda all blend together at some point
  • not memorable for the most part



Gay has been a very recommended author and after reading Bad Feminist (review here), even if I didn’t quite love it, I wanted to read more of her work. Short stories bundles are always a hit or miss but I have mixed feelings about this one. For once, I really liked how the stories are all from different genres. There’s urban fantasy, dystopian, thriller, romance, and many more! It’s never boring to read this one because you can’t ever predict what’s the next story is going to be about. Plus, the writing is really good and that makes for everything. But there were a few things I didn’t really like that much. Most women in the stories have this weird, violent and kinda abusive sexual behaviors. Sometimes it’s not only sexual but I thought it gave a not so positive view on what should be. It also felt too much to the point of making me very uncomfortable. Since this is important and relevant to many of the stories, they all ended up mixing together at some point. I couldn’t really differentiate them since the core of the stories were all so similar. These women were mostly broken for whatever reason and the only thing that made them feel or react was to have men be violent towards them. Yes, there can be people that cope with emotional pain that way but I feel really uncomfortable and I can’t support it.  There were a few that stood out, though. They were “Water, all its weight”and “I am a knife”. I liked them because they were different and kinda brilliant, honestly. I’m sad I couldn’t like this book as much as I wanted.

Are you a fan of Gay’s fiction? Or have you read any of her other stories? Let me know!

See you guys soon,



One thought on “ARC | Book Review #129 – Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay

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