Roxane Gay’s title, Difficult Women, speaks to any woman who has felt difficult to love. I had long since owned that title and studied the qualities that made me “difficult” in relationships. I had searched tirelessly to identify the conditions to which I might attribute this unfortunate state of affairs. So when my sister, the day before her wedding, gifted me this book and began to explain her intention, maybe for fear that I would feel labeled or defensive, I waved her off. Thank you! I told her. I love it already. Gay’s writing pulled me in from the very first paragraph. Her voice captures all the ways women might be considered difficult in intimate relationships yet at the same time looks deeper at who they are and why. We come out of this reading experience so much richer for having explored these stories with her. They are fiction – products of Gay’s imagination. But for me, each is a window into a rich and ornate chamber of its author’s mind. This book leaves me so much richer, with a stronger sense of how a woman might be loved well, even if temporarily. It leaves me with a broader vision of how a woman can allow her difficult self to be loved and why that might add value to her life. It leaves me with a clearer personal understanding of the complexity of myself, love and relationship and the natural grit and beauty of coupling in its infinite forms.
And I feel a little less difficult after having read this book.
Other books by Roxane Gay I plan to read:
& several comic books in Marvel’s Black Panther: World of Wakanda series
“I vigorously encourage women and people of color to be ambitious, to want and work for every damn thing they can dream of. We’re allowed to want, nakedly, as long as we’re willing to put in the proverbial work….I am ambitious because I love what I do, not simply for ambition’s sake. Ambition is what allows me to take creative risks and try things I never thought I could do. Ambition makes me a better thinker and writer. Ambition makes me.” — Roxane Gay