Book Review – Letters To My Fanny by Cherry Healey
I always believed in Mallory Towers. Heck I wanted to go there so badly, I begged my mum to look up boarding schools for me.
Obviously I assumed all played lacrosse and had girls named Mary-Lou and Gwendoline there just waiting for a midnight snack and a prank or two.
As a young girl, Enid Blyton captured my mind and transported me to a place I so badly wanted to be a part of.
I think I, amongst others, read Are you there god, it’s me Margaret and immediately did the “I must, I must, I must increase my bust”. It did not work for many a year.
A nation of girls wept with laughter, and cringed with embarrassment at Forever. Ralph staining the minds of teens for a very long long time.
Judy Blume grasped that teenage angst concept and pelted it into reality. She shared the reality of teen problems and made us not feel alienated. And she did it so well.
These books stayed with me, they came from school to college to university to flat, to house, through puberty, to adulthood. They reside on my shelf just waiting to be passed on to my daughter like a rite of passage.
Here darling, let your mind be filled with words that will ease you through the waiting for your period stage. The why don’t boys like me? and the what to do next part.
Then I became an adult and though my book obsession never eased, it was filled with Voltaire, Douglas Coupland, Hunter S Thompson and such.
There was a void though. A hole that needed filling. Yes my knowledge was savvy. My book shelf ticked all the right hipster boxes. Hell I could recite Valley Of The Dolls to you and discuss A Confederacy Of Dunces with great emotion.
Where was that book, that book that made going through all the creepy adulthood things seem so normal ?
Yes I let a little wee out, when Frank Skinner wrote about his mouth toilet paper collection bit. However it was not enough, he was a man. He couldn’t understand really.
Then Caitlin Moran opened up the floodgates. No not the sheet staining, stab me in my womb gates. She flooded pages upon pages about the trials and tribulations of being a woman. About growing up a woman. Her pages were virtually a giant pop up vagina shouting “SEE WHAT I HAVE HERE”. and it was appreciated. Truly.
Then I did that thing, where I did a little whoopee and a baby was born. My whole life as I thought I knew it was transformed into something resembling Twin Peaks mating with the Gilmore Girls but they cried a whole lot more and instead of coffee it was always about wine. Always!
The search was on again for some words. Words that understood. Words that were not there to vanilla up the body ruining, heart breaking my god my body has just died a death, but I love my tiny human. Real words.
Cherry Healey – Letters To my Fanny. This was it. The book I needed.
She understood why I prayed for pubes and then tied the two in a bow. She got why I kept sanitary pads waiting and waiting for my period then the disappointment ruining it all.
She birthed two humans and her body was put through the rigours of pain, change, emotions, exhaustion, sadness.
And she penned it so well. She wrote a book like she was having the best conversation with Enid, Judy and Caitlin and it was in Mallory Towers and they just understood real life.
The real nitty gritty life. The no filters, raw, it hurts, it is disgusting, hard, it is magical. A life that so many experience but do not dare to discuss or share or simply cannot find the words.
So if you are a woman, you have a vagina, or you have delivered a child like Ripley releasing that Alien then I can not recommend this book enough.
In a time where feminism is riding high but woman are still treated with such disregard in so many aspects of life, it should be treasured when a great book discovery is made and words have the potential to unite.
I mean, we are women hear us roar. Or for those who have birthed, we are women hear us scream, howl, cry, tuck our Naff Naff style C section bumbag pouches in.