Reviews

Things Are Against Us, by Lucy Ellmann

kaaatieball's review against another edition

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funny reflective medium-paced

3.75

vanillafire's review against another edition

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emotional funny lighthearted slow-paced

4.0

mundanesounds's review against another edition

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4.0

‘Things Are Against Us’ is the debut collection of essays from Lucy Ellmann and the writer’s first book since her one-sentence opus ‘Ducks, Newburyport.’ ⁣

Ellmann covers a lot of ground in this relatively short collection that discusses topics such as labour strikes, environmental crises and even a rumination on ‘Little House on the Prairie.’ Often using feminist frameworks, Ellmann’s arguments are sharp, timely, and at times, very funny. ⁣

The modernist-inspired formalism of her fiction work is also on display here, exemplified in the collection’s standout essay ‘Three Strikes,’ in which Ellmann uses Footnotes as a metaphor for misogynistic oppression: “Footnotes are the outsiders within a text, and make obliging underdogs in an essay on female subordination.” ⁣

While Ellmann makes very salient critiques on the systems that oppress the majority, at times she attacks the symptoms of these structures rather than their roots. This is most apparent when she is discussing YouTubers and people who read popular fiction. Moments such as these seem misjudged at best and outwardly elitist at worst. However, these are blips in what is otherwise a very sophisticated assortment of essays.

sarahredacted's review against another edition

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The first essay was great--Funny, modernist, chaotic, but the writing really goes down from there. Extreme old man yells at clouds vibes in a way that is not at all charming. Lots of subtly (or perhaps not so subtle...) transphobic reasoning in many of the "feminist" based pieces. Political "fury" without much cause as she doesn't really talk about systemic issues, basically boiling down to "our former president was so gross, wasn't he?" I thought it was a satire at first because of how played out these concepts are in 2021. Just so boring and overdone.

jamescd's review against another edition

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challenging funny informative reflective slow-paced

5.0

sienchris's review against another edition

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funny reflective fast-paced

4.25

rynstagram's review against another edition

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*review based on an ARC

Too much generalizing about gender, exclusion of trans people, and boring repetition. The first essay was great, the next couple were okay, and then the fourth one was just bad. I flipped through some other ones and they just seem to cover the same things (Trump, anti-men cis “feminism,” capitalism) over and over again without saying anything new or in an interesting way. 

I just can’t forgive how many times this essay (“Three Strikes”) equated sex and gender, made sweeping generalizations and stereotypes toward men and women alike, and completely ignored intersectional identities. Not for me. And definitely not with it enough to be super relevant in late 2021.  

Pretty bummed as the author sounded great and the premise was interesting and it started so strong. 

bobthebookerer's review against another edition

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challenging funny reflective fast-paced

4.5

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