Book Review | When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

I must admit, it took me a while to read When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill. I kept putting it down and coming back to it over the course of nearly 3 weeks. This book doesn’t have a fast-pasted story that keeps you on the edge of your seat, however, it is deeply moving, unapologetically feminist and incredibly powerful; especially with regard to last Friday’s devastating Supreme Court ruling in the US.

“In a world where girls and women are taught to be quiet, the dragons inside them are about to be set free – and nothing will ever be the same again.”

Alex Green is four when she first sees a dragon. Gone was the little old lady who once tended her garden, fed her chickens and handed out bundles of vegetables and the occasional treat to the neighborhood children. In her place stood a ferocious, beautiful beast. It looked at Alex with knowing eyes and then soared into the sky. Alex never told a soul. There are some things that can not and should not be discussed; it’s unbecoming of a woman. Discrimination, oppression, sexuality, and, god-forbid, menstruation are conversations that should be reduced to a whisper in polite society.

On April 25, 1955, the world changed forever. During a phenomenon described as the ‘Mass Dragoning’, thousands of wives and daughters in the United States of America transformed into mythological creatures. They literally shed their skin, grew iridescent wings and flew into the sky never to be seen again. Finally breaking free from the oppressive patriarchy determined to keep them grounded

This heartbreaking coming-of-age story is rightfully frustrating, unmistakably feminist and extremely necessary. I fell in love with the tenacious Alex and the wonderfully wild Bea; she reminds me of my little girl Poppy. I absolutely adored this book. It is a beautifully written celebration of women and, I’m not embarrassed to admit, that I was left in a puddle of tears in its final chapters.

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill is available HERE. (Affiliate Link)

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