I’ve enjoyed Tara Moss’s crime series and have followed her writing career with interest, so I was curious to know what her foray into non-fiction would bring. The Fictional Woman is part memoir, part social commentary and it also packs some punches with as much force as the best action scenes from her works of fiction.
Since the book’s release it seems that Tara Moss has been everywhere, and much of the media buzz around the book has focused on her revelations about her private life, including a horrifying rape when she was in her early 20s and her two miscarriages.
It certainly takes a huge amount of courage to reveal such deeply personal stories, but to focus solely on these revelations is to miss the serious and salient points that Moss is making about the many fictions about women throughout history and indeed in contemporary Australia.
The striking cover reveals Moss’s own fictions, both those she embraces (wife, mother, inspiration) and those she has had thrust upon her (blonde bimbo, gold-digger, bitch), and it invites the reader to reflect on their own fictions and those of the women in their lives.
Thoroughly researched and supported with statistics, The Fictional Woman is an engaging mix of personal observation and well-structured argument and reasoning. It is also one of the most accessible texts on the subject of contemporary feminism, and I have been recommending it to everyone I know, both women and men.
Reviewed by Maryanne Hyde