The Fictional Woman: Tara Moss

A spot-on analysis of being a woman, and what it’s like to be a woman in society. A must-read.

I found what would become my copy of Tara Moss’s The Fictional Woman in my local charity shop. I’m normally a once-a-week visitor to my local Vinnies; mainly just to peruse their new book and CD stock. Being a self-proclaimed feminist, and more generally speaking, a woman, when I saw this book on the shelf, I instantly bought it.

The cover alone intrigued me – it reminded me a lot of that One Tree Hill episode where Brooke Davis covers her face in all the words that she associates herself with, and that others might relate to her. The cover of this book evokes the same symbolism – woman in particular often put themselves down far more than necessary, due to low self-esteem, or what others may have maliciously said. I love the metaphor that Tara Moss has painted with the cover: If you judge a book by its cover, you will think she is all of those words on her face. But if you read the book, you will get a very different opinion.

I will be honest and say that until I read this book, I had never heard of Tara Moss. But that being said, after reading this book, I have a lot of respect for her.

Tara Moss is a model, author, mother, and journalist, among other things. Author of nine crime novels, The Fictional Woman is Tara’s first work of non-fiction. This book combines memoirs and social analysis, examining women and various common fictions associated with women.

On the memoir side of the book, Tara pinpoints key moments in her life; small-town tomboy in Canada, to international fashion model in the 90s, to bestselling author. This memoir includes the shocking incident where Tara took a polygraph test in 2002 to prove she writes her own work –  just further proof that society perceives models to be ‘dumb’, and not capable of much else other than smiling for the camera.

What I like about this book is that Tara weaves her own experiences into a broader look at sexism and issues surrounding  women. Topics include motherhood in modern life, body imagery, and women in politics, show business, and media. This book is surprisingly personal, and delves deep in to what its like to be a woman today. 

The message that this book gets across the most is that everyone wears a number of different labels. Don’t judge someone by a snap decision that you make about that person until you’ve got to know them properly. Tara is more than just a model, more than just an author, and more than just a mother; as are we all. Humanise people, don’t label them.

This book was highly enjoyable and insightful. More than anything, I am now desperate to read Tara Moss’s works of fiction!

To find out more about Tara Moss, click here.

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