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Book Review: Raven Smith’s Men – Raven Smith

Following on from his debut Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits, Smith is back with a witty and explorative title on what it means to be a man in the modern day, from his own experience, but also attempting to retain an objective eye.

Part memoir, part commentary, Raven Smith’s Men is a timely and insightful consideration of men and their centred position within society, particularly within his world. Giving an overview of the men that have been at the core of his life, as well as giving thought to his own situation, Raven tries to distil what it is about men that has given them the prime spot – it boils down to three things. Clearly, he loves them. However, he can also see how problematic they are. And all of this impacts on his own sense of self; he is a man after all.

This book is all about men because that’s how Smith’s life sits, and of course, we exist within a patriarchy. It doesn’t set out to change things, simply astutely observes how they are, and where things don’t sit quite right. The book considers his own behaviour as well as those of others that have been central to his life.

This book is structured by chapters that highlight particular themes and issues prevalent to the subject. But, how does anyone even begin to dissect an entire gender and their position in society, and within one book? Well, Smith does it with humour, real life experience and enough balance to make it worthwhile reading for women as well as men. It’s a sharp, contemporary read that considers toxic environments, masculinity, and his own behaviours that could be considered dubious in these times.

Raven Smith’s Men is published by 4th Estate

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