Cover image for Not that bad : dispatches from rape culture / edited by Roxane Gay.
Not that bad : dispatches from rape culture / edited by Roxane Gay.

First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.

Physical Description:
xii, 350 pages ; 24 cm
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
305.42 NOT Book Adult General Collection
305.42 NOT Book Adult General Collection

On Order



Edited and with an introduction by Roxane Gay, the New York Times bestselling and deeply beloved author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology of first-person essays tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on.

Vogue, "10 of the Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2018" * Harper's Bazaar, "10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018" * Elle, "21 Books We're Most Excited to Read in 2018" * Boston Globe, "25 books we can't wait to read in 2018" * Huffington Post, "60 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018" * Hello Giggles, "19 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018" * Buzzfeed, "33 Most Exciting New Books of 2018"

In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are "routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied" for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Like Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, Not That Bad will resonate with every reader, saying "something in totality that we cannot say alone."

Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that "not that bad" must no longer be good enough.

Author Notes

Roxane Gay is the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist: Essays, the novel An Untamed State, the story collection Ayiti, and her memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Her work has also appeared in Glamour, Best American Short Stories, and the New York Times Book Review. She won the PEN Center USA's 2015 Freedom to Write Award. The annual award is presented to individuals or organisations for 'producing notable work in the face of extreme adversity' or showing 'exceptional courage in the defense of free expression. In 2018, she was presented the Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature by the Lambda Literery Awards. She also won the Bisexual Nonfiction award for her memoir Hunger.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

New York Review of Books Review

TO END A PRESIDENCY By Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz. (Basic, $28.) Should a president be impeached? And if so, how do you go about it? Tribe and Matz, both highly respected legal scholars, play out various scenarios, bringing to bear a sense of history and a deep knowledge of constitutional law. when life gives you LULULEMONS By Lauren Weisberger. (Simon & Schuster, $26.99.) From the author of "The Devil Wears Prada" comes a sequel featuring Emily Charlton, ex-assistant to the fashion editor Miranda Priestly. Charlton is now living in the Connecticut suburbs and her career as a Hollywood image consultant has suffered a number of blows, ft's time for an uplifting comeback. the origins of cool in postwar America By Joel Dinerstein. (University of Chicago, $40.) Exploring the intersection of all those midcentury markers of hipness - from film noir to jazz to existential literature - Dinerstein maps out a grand unified theory of "cool," as the concept that came to define the postwar era. not that bad Edited by Roxane Gay. (Harper Perennial, paper, $16.99.) What does it mean to live in a world in which women are, as one essay in this collection puts it, "routinely secondguessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked" simply for speaking their minds? Gay gathers a group of feminist writers who offer answers, ruthless tide By Al Roker. (William Morrow/HarperCollins, $28.99.) The "Today" show co-host and weatherman writes a narrative history of the 1889 Johnstown flood, the deadliest in American history, immersing himself, for a change, in the weather of the past. & Noteworthy "En route to my 20 th college reunion, 1 started reading Elif Batuman's the idiot. Its clever, awkward, insecure protagonist, Selin, is an unforgettable character. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, is a lovelorn Slavicist entering Harvard in 1995, when email was becoming ubiquitous but smartphones were far in the future. The novel is a terrific satire, because it comes from a sympathetic place, (ft even helped relieve my anxiety about the reunion, which turned out to be fun.) One memorable nonfiction book 1 just finished is Lauren Hilgers's patriot number one, a richly reported account of a Chinese dissident who settles in Flushing, Queens, the neighborhood where 1 grew up. ft's the second book I've read about Flushing lately - the other is Atticus Lish's debut novel, preparation for the next life. From radically different narrative perspectives, both books offer compelling portraits of the hopes and disappointments that exist in one of New York's fastest-growing immigrant communities." -SEWELL CHAN, INTERNATIONAL NEWS EDITOR, ON WHAT HE'S READING.

Library Journal Review

Rape culture is examined in this stellar collection edited by National Book Critics Circle finalist Gay (Hunger; Bad Feminist) because as a society we use the term often but rarely engage with it. What are the effects of being taught to downplay sexual violence, to convince yourself it's not that bad? A recurring topic among contributors is whether to use the term victim or survivor; writer AJ McKenna says, "If I say I have survived, I'm fooling nobody. I didn't." Actress Ally Sheedy discusses decades-long sexism in Hollywood, educator and writer Sharisse Tracey takes on the myth of the perfect black family, actress Gabrielle Union navigates explaining consent to her stepsons, and author Amy Jo Burns revisits the cost of staying silent. Particularly insightful is writer Michelle Chen's exploration into the safety of women in migrant camps. Some share experiences of street harassment or witnessing public masturbation and the mind-set that it's an honor to be objectified. Gay succeeds in bringing men's and women's voices to the conversation, showing the broad influence of sexuality, race, and faith. VERDICT A standout collection on a crucial topic. That some parts may be difficult to read owing to details of sexual violence makes these essays even more necessary.-Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.