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Why God Is a Woman is a collection of poems written about a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex. It is also the story of a boy who, exiled from the island because he could not abide by its sexist laws, looks back with both nostalgia and bitterness and wonders: Why does God have to be a woman? Celebrated prose poet Nin Andrews creates a world both fan Why God Is a Woman is a collection of poems written about a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex. It is also the story of a boy who, exiled from the island because he could not abide by its sexist laws, looks back with both nostalgia and bitterness and wonders: Why does God have to be a woman? Celebrated prose poet Nin Andrews creates a world both fantastic and familiar where all the myths, logic, and institutions support the dominance of women. Nin Andrews's books include The Book of Orgasms and Sleeping with Houdini.


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Why God Is a Woman is a collection of poems written about a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex. It is also the story of a boy who, exiled from the island because he could not abide by its sexist laws, looks back with both nostalgia and bitterness and wonders: Why does God have to be a woman? Celebrated prose poet Nin Andrews creates a world both fan Why God Is a Woman is a collection of poems written about a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex. It is also the story of a boy who, exiled from the island because he could not abide by its sexist laws, looks back with both nostalgia and bitterness and wonders: Why does God have to be a woman? Celebrated prose poet Nin Andrews creates a world both fantastic and familiar where all the myths, logic, and institutions support the dominance of women. Nin Andrews's books include The Book of Orgasms and Sleeping with Houdini.

30 review for Why God is a Woman

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    Two things instantly convinced me to pick this up: 1) Why God Is a Woman is a collection of poems written about a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex. Exploring that concept seemed to be right up my alley. 2) Also, that stunningly beautiful cover. Going into this, I was hoping for a collection focused heavily on equal rights, pay, respect, and representation, but Why God Is a Woman didn't really know where to put its focus. It rather relies more on the superficial side of the Two things instantly convinced me to pick this up: 1) Why God Is a Woman is a collection of poems written about a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex. Exploring that concept seemed to be right up my alley. 2) Also, that stunningly beautiful cover. Going into this, I was hoping for a collection focused heavily on equal rights, pay, respect, and representation, but Why God Is a Woman didn't really know where to put its focus. It rather relies more on the superficial side of the movement: barbies (or Boberto dolls as they're called in this collection), weddings, genital tattoos (for real), Angelina Jolie, wingspan (I'm???)... And I was left feeling quite disappointed. Maybe it was just that I had such different expectations going into this, but Why God Is a Woman did not live up to the hype I had set up for it in my mind. I did, however, enjoy a few poems and quotes that I would like to share next: “On the Island where I come from parents worship their daughters. They invest all their hopes for the future in their girls, spoiling them rotten, letting them do and have whatever they wish. When I was a boy, my family was no different. While my sisters were allowed to go out night after night, I was never out of my parents’ sight. Like all proper Island boys, I knew I had to remain a virgin. I had to keep my reputation as clean as freshly bleached linen. But by the time I was twelve, I wanted to go out on the town. I wanted to fly around after dark. It’s not fair, I complained. My sisters don’t have to abide by the rules. Why do I? My father said what he always said. You aren’t a girl, son. God didn’t make us equals. Until I was eighteen, my father kept me indoors, checking on me after he turned out the lights. A homemaker and charm-school graduate himself, he was forever tidying the kitchen and garden as well as my hair, my wardrobe and my changing moods. He knew when the first sign of desire crossed my mind, and when I kissed my neighbor, Angelina, on the sly. He knew when I smoked my first cigarette and drank beer with the cool kids after school. And he knew when anger flared beneath my obedient smile. Anger, he said, is unbecoming of a proper Island boy.” “Alone, he stared at the wall, and when asked if he was okay, he didn’t answer. He couldn’t. He was drowning in a sorrow so deep, the words would not rise from his throat.” “On the Island where I come from the first signs of puberty happen at night. A boy wakes to feel a fire inside him, like an ache, a hunger, an indefinable wish, followed by the first prickling of wings. It hurts so much when the wings break through the flesh, each wing-bone a knife in the skin. (Picture it as the sharp beak of a baby bird pecking its shell. Only the shell is a skin full of nerve-endings.) Then there is the blood, the shame, the need to cover it up so no one will know. This, the boy learns, is how it feels to be a man. Nothing he does, says, or prays can ever make him feel safe from what he has become.” Why God Is a Woman “When I was a boy, did I already tell you this? I had an ongoing conversation with God. I spoke to God loudly at the end of each day, complaining about the women who ran my life: my sisters, my mother, my aunt. One day my mother told me that God is a woman. She said someday I would understand.” Overall, this collection was a bit of a let down because of its huge potential to succeed with a fascinating question such as: Why God Is a Woman. But you can't always get what you want. And I'll still be on the look out for more feminist poetry to enjoy. *Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Why God Is a Woman, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!* This review and more can be found on my blog.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    This book was just so damn cool. But sad? But cool. I started this several months ago and lost interest, but when I picked it back up again, I devoured it. This reads more like flash fiction and vignettes more than poetry, and it also somewhat follows a storyline of a character, but each piece is still distinct and gorgeous. This book was mindboggling and sad and so different than any feminist piece I've ever read. I would love to discuss it in a class, and I'm tempted to buy a copy for my femin This book was just so damn cool. But sad? But cool. I started this several months ago and lost interest, but when I picked it back up again, I devoured it. This reads more like flash fiction and vignettes more than poetry, and it also somewhat follows a storyline of a character, but each piece is still distinct and gorgeous. This book was mindboggling and sad and so different than any feminist piece I've ever read. I would love to discuss it in a class, and I'm tempted to buy a copy for my feminist rhet professor. but ariana was right. god is a woman

  3. 4 out of 5

    SARA ABUDAHAB

    As Aristea, the great Island philosopher, pointed out centuries ago, men are simply unfinished ladies.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ink

    Okay, that was just so fucking good. Simply fascinating. Unbelievably groundbreaking. THIS WAS SO EYE-OPENING. It played out some main points so boldly and so simply that when you read it, you would say "shit, that's really what we go through as women.". LIKE IT WAS SO SIMPLE. like how?? SO. SIMPLE. YET. SO. ACCURATE. AND. PRECISE. I have to admit that, for a moment, I was so lost in the book. I found myself in the streets she described. I found myself as the first ruling sex. I found that my ge Okay, that was just so fucking good. Simply fascinating. Unbelievably groundbreaking. THIS WAS SO EYE-OPENING. It played out some main points so boldly and so simply that when you read it, you would say "shit, that's really what we go through as women.". LIKE IT WAS SO SIMPLE. like how?? SO. SIMPLE. YET. SO. ACCURATE. AND. PRECISE. I have to admit that, for a moment, I was so lost in the book. I found myself in the streets she described. I found myself as the first ruling sex. I found that my gender is just as strong in real life as it is described in the book. The book was so open about so many issues women face in our society that was presented in a man's situation. It talked about sex, health, work, social roles and responsibilities, feelings, hygiene, beauty, and mutilation of ones body for the sake of being desired by the opposite sex. like, are you fucking kidding me? holy shit this book was too fucking good. As I read along, all I saw was bronze men with thick thighs and large biceps worrying in the mirror if they're desired enough to fit women's sexual stipulations. I saw strong looking men with large feathery wings in the arms of a woman, curled into a ball and chewing with juice dripping on their chins as they ate plums from a woman's strong hands. I saw men staying at home to cook and clean and take care of the children as women came back every night from working all day in large offices and high buildings. It was a beautiful and fascinating thing to imagine. This book is one of my top favorites. Loved the story, loved the idea, loved the protagonist, absolutely loved everything about this book. I love this book. You should love this book. I love this book. (again)

  5. 5 out of 5

    amanda;

    this is what sexist men think will happen with the world if feminism starts to work. it's their worst nightmare. brilliant. this is what sexist men think will happen with the world if feminism starts to work. it's their worst nightmare. brilliant.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen Campbell

    Absolutely wonderful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shanna Matheo

    After spending the last two years doing the reading equivalent of sitting on the couch pigging out on junk-food, then washing it down with orange soda and topping it off cupcakes and ice-cream for desert, I decided that 2017 would be the year I whip my reading habits back into shape. Because while the stuff I was reading was delicious, it wasn't very nutritious...for my brain. I needed to detox and get some kale in my reading diet. Why God Is a Woman isn't kale though, it's more like quinoa. New After spending the last two years doing the reading equivalent of sitting on the couch pigging out on junk-food, then washing it down with orange soda and topping it off cupcakes and ice-cream for desert, I decided that 2017 would be the year I whip my reading habits back into shape. Because while the stuff I was reading was delicious, it wasn't very nutritious...for my brain. I needed to detox and get some kale in my reading diet. Why God Is a Woman isn't kale though, it's more like quinoa. New, different, good for you, a little nutty and surprisingly tasty. I'm glad I gave it a try. I haven't read much poetry outside of required reading at school and greeting cards. And I definitely had not ever read prose poetry before, but I picked this one up on the recommendation of Jen Campbell. She described prose poetry as walking through an art exhibition. You don't blaze through it quickly. You sort of wander and stop and observe each piece, letting it impress upon you. And with that approach, I found I really enjoyed this book. It's funny and sharp witted, but also insightful and thought provoking. I feel healthier already.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kazen

    Jen Campbell defines prose poetry perfectly: instead of watching the movie of a novel it's like wandering through an art gallery, pausing before each painting to soak up its beauty. The poems are indeed beautiful, but also so much more - in turns deep and funny and skewering. "What am I doing here? he asked God. And Why am I so small compared to the sky, so hairless and weak compared to the rest of the animals, so mortal and lost compared to You? Night after night man raged against God, until at Jen Campbell defines prose poetry perfectly: instead of watching the movie of a novel it's like wandering through an art gallery, pausing before each painting to soak up its beauty. The poems are indeed beautiful, but also so much more - in turns deep and funny and skewering. "What am I doing here? he asked God. And Why am I so small compared to the sky, so hairless and weak compared to the rest of the animals, so mortal and lost compared to You? Night after night man raged against God, until at last She grew tired of listening to him. And so God created orgasms. After every orgasm, man fell into a sleep, deeper than the sleep of stones. And God at last was able to gain some peace of mind. But that was when woman began to complain." In this world men are said to be descended from angels, and grow wings once they reach puberty. They sprout from their backs leaving embarrassing trails of blood, and the men use absorbent pads to hide their shame. Women are said to have risen from the sea and are the elite, the politicians, any one that holds any scrap of power. By turning gender roles on their head Andrews does more than merely satirize, she shows that binary gender norms are by their nature arbitrary and absurd. If you need a little more convincing check out Jen's review on youtube but if not - go. Read. It's amazing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emilie Emzbooksandco

    At first I really enjoyed this book, but then, it wasn't as good as the beginning and I struggled to finish it. I have to admit that I don't really know what to say about it. At first I really enjoyed this book, but then, it wasn't as good as the beginning and I struggled to finish it. I have to admit that I don't really know what to say about it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    sahar

    poetry is usually a miss for me but surprisingly i really enjoyed this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ani

    Nope.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)

    Women rule on the island where our unnamed male narrator grew up, and men are the subservient, objectified sex. Frankly, I didn't think the familiar device of gender switching would be that powerful for me, but it was. These prose poems look at what it means to live in fear of bodily harm and to understand that your appearance is your primary source of worth. And Andrews also explores how myth and storytelling teach us our place in the world. An accessible, elegant, thought-provoking collection. Women rule on the island where our unnamed male narrator grew up, and men are the subservient, objectified sex. Frankly, I didn't think the familiar device of gender switching would be that powerful for me, but it was. These prose poems look at what it means to live in fear of bodily harm and to understand that your appearance is your primary source of worth. And Andrews also explores how myth and storytelling teach us our place in the world. An accessible, elegant, thought-provoking collection.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    Yeeesss, this was just what I needed to get me out of my book slump. This was a good read. I really enjoyed the books comedy and whimsical feel, but also appreciated its commentary. It was not like any other poetry collection I had read before and I was pleased to read a poetry collection that had a real chronological kind of story running through it. It wasn’t the most touching or beautiful poetry I ever read, but it was definitely worth reading.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    This was very hard and very uncomfortable to read. Not because of how it was written , but because of how the theme was showcased. This book is a double-edged knife. Because it does show men that they could have been in the role of women very easily if god was a woman , but it feeds aggressive feminists and shows women in very bad light, which is no good. (view spoiler)[ At some moment it was inconsistent with the gender roles. Most of the book women were the dominant gender and then there is a St This was very hard and very uncomfortable to read. Not because of how it was written , but because of how the theme was showcased. This book is a double-edged knife. Because it does show men that they could have been in the role of women very easily if god was a woman , but it feeds aggressive feminists and shows women in very bad light, which is no good. (view spoiler)[ At some moment it was inconsistent with the gender roles. Most of the book women were the dominant gender and then there is a St. Angelina story where she was a sex slave. If god is a woman and women dominated society as was said intill that moment , a man would be the slave in the story not a woman. The Pharaoh would be a woman. (hide spoiler)] To me, this book was not feminist , but more of a revenge book for women who suffered from men and for them to feel retribution through the book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Absolutely lovely. Both funny and slightly terrifying.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Topsy-turvy prose poems flipping our gendered history on its head. This is one of those books that I’d love to discuss in a classroom setting. I felt like there were layers of meaning and nuance that I missed, correlations or parallels that passed me by. I enjoyed them for the way they twisted my brain.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paras2

    finally finished it. Okay so this was basically an upside-down world. men as second sex and women ruled. metaphors and all the plays with women's issues were well-thought but sometimes it just didn't make sense. anyway I'd recommend it to feminist-literature-seekers. :) finally finished it. Okay so this was basically an upside-down world. men as second sex and women ruled. metaphors and all the plays with women's issues were well-thought but sometimes it just didn't make sense. anyway I'd recommend it to feminist-literature-seekers. :)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meonicorn (The Bookish Land)

    This is my first attempt to read prose poetry, the writing is lyrical and I quite liked it. The first few poems was okay but after that the world built up perfectly and the poems are getting more and more fascinating. The book described a women centralized island where men basically don't have rights and live as minorities. This society has issues that mirrored our real world. Sometimes I felt the setting was thrilling and uncomfortable, but I guess that's part of the point about this collection. This is my first attempt to read prose poetry, the writing is lyrical and I quite liked it. The first few poems was okay but after that the world built up perfectly and the poems are getting more and more fascinating. The book described a women centralized island where men basically don't have rights and live as minorities. This society has issues that mirrored our real world. Sometimes I felt the setting was thrilling and uncomfortable, but I guess that's part of the point about this collection.

  19. 4 out of 5

    MissFede

    This is one of the most ridiculous, unsettling, beautiful books ever. It shows how everything we believe normal in our society is instead a complete bunch of nonsense. Please do yourself a favour and read it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Enya

    I loved how this collection turned everything on its head, including the English language. Especially the generic "she". I loved how this collection turned everything on its head, including the English language. Especially the generic "she".

  21. 4 out of 5

    Asmaa

    Fascinating and magical. Absolutely loved it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dezra Bennett

    The writing was done beautifully and I loved the twist on this. It messed with my head at first but once it all kind of registered I was unable to put it down.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Medini

    3.5 How did this happen? I want to ask. How did we hold each other so close once and never again, and yet I keep missing you like this? How did I turn into an old man, still telling you my life, conversing with you in my mind?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    About: Why God is a Woman is a poetry collection that was written by Nin Andrews and published in 2015. This is a collection of prose poetry all about an island where women are the dominant sex. Through turning our current day gender inequality issues upside down Andrews explores feminist issues, but with men as the victims in this case. Did I Like It?: In some ways I liked it a bit and then in others it just didn’t do it for me. I think the idea of the collection was very clever and some of the f About: Why God is a Woman is a poetry collection that was written by Nin Andrews and published in 2015. This is a collection of prose poetry all about an island where women are the dominant sex. Through turning our current day gender inequality issues upside down Andrews explores feminist issues, but with men as the victims in this case. Did I Like It?: In some ways I liked it a bit and then in others it just didn’t do it for me. I think the idea of the collection was very clever and some of the feminist issues she talked about were important such as inequality in the workplace, our male dominant government, our male dominant religious stories, women being mostly appreciated for their bodies and the shaming of certain female body issues. While all these things she brought up were important, I feel like she could have delved deeper. I think there are some issues that typical feminism just doesn’t bring up and perhaps that’s not the fault of Nin Andrews in this collection. Other than that I just didn’t find her writing beautiful. It didn’t stand out to me. The collection also didn’t emotionally impact me, which is usually what gets me to like poetry. I gave this collection three stars out of five. It’s probably a weak three stars, but I can’t deny that the idea was clever and that the issues talked about have importance. I suppose I just wanted more. More from the subject matter and more from the writing. Do I Recommend It?: If this collection still appeals to you, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pick it up. I know there are people who really like it and you could be one of them.

  25. 4 out of 5

    M. (Inside My Library Mind)

    My full review on Inside My Library Mind I actually really enjoyed this. While it may seem like the message of the book might be too much in your face, it really is not. It is insightful, smart, powerful, witty, but also quite funny at times. I do admit some of the poems went a bit over my head, and some I just plainly did not get. This was still a very enjoyable reading experience for me and I do recommend it. My full review on Inside My Library Mind I actually really enjoyed this. While it may seem like the message of the book might be too much in your face, it really is not. It is insightful, smart, powerful, witty, but also quite funny at times. I do admit some of the poems went a bit over my head, and some I just plainly did not get. This was still a very enjoyable reading experience for me and I do recommend it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Manno

    My first experience with prose poetry was this beauty. I am in love. Gender-bending, body image, self-worth, genital mutilation, beautiful poetry... When sexist ideals are turned against men in a way that we haven't been conditioned to accept/haven't normalised, it's easy to see how it's all nonsense, thrown around for the upper hand. Admittedly, some poems made little sense to me at this point of time, but that's what rereads are for. And this is definitely a book I intend to reread. My first experience with prose poetry was this beauty. I am in love. Gender-bending, body image, self-worth, genital mutilation, beautiful poetry... When sexist ideals are turned against men in a way that we haven't been conditioned to accept/haven't normalised, it's easy to see how it's all nonsense, thrown around for the upper hand. Admittedly, some poems made little sense to me at this point of time, but that's what rereads are for. And this is definitely a book I intend to reread.

  27. 4 out of 5

    dina

    okay but my rating is a little bit tricky because personally, i think that this book isn't bad. it's good and a straight offense to patriarchy system of government. but i found that there are aspects in this book unnecessary and very dragging, like the topic about all women are called angelina (i still don't get it though) or men growing wings as a representation of women having period. it's all too much. plus, i got bored halfway reading it. okay but my rating is a little bit tricky because personally, i think that this book isn't bad. it's good and a straight offense to patriarchy system of government. but i found that there are aspects in this book unnecessary and very dragging, like the topic about all women are called angelina (i still don't get it though) or men growing wings as a representation of women having period. it's all too much. plus, i got bored halfway reading it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)

    Bumping up to 5 stars because I can't stop thinking about this collection. Bumping up to 5 stars because I can't stop thinking about this collection.

  29. 4 out of 5

    BetweenLinesAndLife

    3.5 Stars This collection is very clever in its concept and I enjoyed reading about the world it set in. It's not like other poetry collections as this follows a certain narrative surrounding an island where men are viewed as the second sex and it for sure is a prime example of what prose poetry looks like. While I thoroughly enjoy the concept and the world building and the perspective it was told through, some things didn't super click with me. The writing was just okay for me and I just need much 3.5 Stars This collection is very clever in its concept and I enjoyed reading about the world it set in. It's not like other poetry collections as this follows a certain narrative surrounding an island where men are viewed as the second sex and it for sure is a prime example of what prose poetry looks like. While I thoroughly enjoy the concept and the world building and the perspective it was told through, some things didn't super click with me. The writing was just okay for me and I just need much more lyrical prose when it comes to prose poetry. I wished it was a bit less obvious in its messages and it lacked a bit in regards to having a cohesive narrative and because of that got lost a little too much in the personal story of the narrator that felt out of place with the rest of the collection and also in regards to adding magical elements. For that reason it lost my attention sometimes. I did very much enjoy the commentary and it was especially interesting to read about the concept of puperty in this world. Overall I hope for a little more, but will definitely check out the author in the future

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Listen, I really liked the concept. It is set on an Island where the women rule and the men are inferior to them. You can do a lot of interesting things with this. And Nin Andrews has a nice writing style. But unfortunately, I couldn't enjoy 'Why God Is a Woman' for the life of me. And here's why: 1. Some things I don't know what to think about. For example, for women, men are basically just objects of lust and desire. And I know that's basically our world but turned on its head, but it sometimes Listen, I really liked the concept. It is set on an Island where the women rule and the men are inferior to them. You can do a lot of interesting things with this. And Nin Andrews has a nice writing style. But unfortunately, I couldn't enjoy 'Why God Is a Woman' for the life of me. And here's why: 1. Some things I don't know what to think about. For example, for women, men are basically just objects of lust and desire. And I know that's basically our world but turned on its head, but it sometimes felt a little exaggerated? 2. Literally everyone is always experiencing lust and desire, and as an ace person, that made me very tired. 3. It completely disregards trans people. There were several poems that played the old 'vagina = woman, penis = man' game. One poem called men 'unfinished ladies'. Trans men? Trans women? What are those, mystical creatures? 4. It also kept saying 'both sex' and 'opposite sex'. 5. The world was more or less extremely heteronormative. The only guy who's ever described interested in the same sex is a paedophile who rapes the narrator. There is one sentence that says that women sometimes seek out other women, but it's more in a 'I prefer women because men are exhausting' kind of way and less of a 'I'm not into men'. Moreover, men who dress feminine are ridiculed. 6. Some poems seem to contradict each other a little. 7. There are some magical elements in some of the poems, and they were very confusing at times. Also: Trigger warning for rape, paedophilia, and sexual harassment. That being said, some of the poems had really good ideas! For example, one talked about how 'boys had to remain virgins until they got married', and another one was about sexism at work. So, overall, I think the concept was great, but it could have been done a bit less cis-centred.

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