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Monday, February 20, 2023

Daniel Gawthrop Reviews Victim ~ A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor

TITLE OF BOOK: Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor

AUTHOR: Karen Moe

REVIEWER:  Daniel Gawthrop

REVIEWER’S BYLINEThe British Columbia Review Publisher and Editor


 X Yes, I have received permission from the reviewer to reprint their review in its entirety. 

Daniel Gawthrop Reviews Victim ~ A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor


For any new author seeking a large audience for a polemical work, the self-declared “manifesto” is a risky undertaking. Driven by the urgency of singular purpose, a manifesto in the wrong hands can result in the most artless of writing: self-righteous, tone-deaf in its didacticism, utterly lacking in irony, or all three. In a book title, the word “manifesto” combined with “feminist” and “victim” calls up all sorts of red flags that will turn off certain readers: one might well assume that what’s between the covers will be drearily predictable and all too depressing.

Fortunately, this “manifesto” is nothing of the kind. To the contrary, the reader is in good hands with Karen Moe: her first book, a memoir about rape and recovery, turns out to be creative non-fiction of the most readable, if gut-wrenching, sort. Much of this has to do with the author’s self-deprecating humility, which shines through in every chapter. In turning the narrative lens toward herself, Moe—an art critic, visual/performance artist, and feminist activist—employs a high degree of self-awareness in deconstructing not only a traumatic event in her own life but also the misogynistic ideas and behaviours that produce rape culture, constantly examining her own assumptions while doing so. She has clearly done her homework, too, coming to this project armed with all the feminist theory she needs to build her case. ...

Now fifty-five, Moe says she was emotionally incapable of writing this memoir until now. And that’s a good thing, for Victim is a much better and wiser book than it would have been had she published it within a short time of her terrifying abduction. As a memoir charting the author’s decades-long recovery, Victim is a rich and soulful testament to the power of human resilience that redefines the meaning of victimhood itself. It confirms the power of art as a source of healing while offering rape victims a time-tested roadmap for recovery, self-empowerment, and—in response to reactionary political events like the overturning of Roe vs. Wade—resistance.

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Daniel Gawthrop is the author of five non-fiction books including The Rice Queen Diaries (2005) and The Trial of Pope Benedict: Joseph Ratzinger and the Vatican’s Assault on Reason, Compassion, and Human Dignity (2013), both published by Arsenal Pulp Press. His first novel, Double Karma, will be published in Spring 2023 by Cormorant Books. Editor’s note: Daniel Gawthrop has also reviewed books by Keith Maillard, Hassan Al Kontar, and Cheryl A. MacDonald & Jonathon R.J. Edwards for The British Columbia Review.

Karen Moe is an art critic, visual and performance artist, author and feminist activist. Her work focuses on systemic violence in patriarchy: be it gender, race, the environment or speciesism. Her art criticism has been published internationally in magazines, anthologies and artist catalogues in English and Spanish and she has exhibited and performed across Canada, in the US and in Mexico. Karen is the recipient of the “Ellie Liston Hero of the Year Award” 2022 for being instrumental in the life sentence given to the serial rapist in 1997. On International Women's Day 2023, Karen will be presenting Victim at UNAM university in Mexico City.  Karen writes about her experiences fighting for social justice in Mexico in Victim; therefore, the  presentation at UNAM is particularly special to her because of all that she has learned there about sexual violence and feminist resistance. She has recently started her new blog called, The Logical Feminist.Karen Moe lives in Mexico City and British Columbia, Canada. Published by Vigilance Press in April, 2022, Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor is her debut book. She is currently beginning her second with the working title of Re-Indiginize: The Revolution of Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones.

More About #TheNewBookReview Blog The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read and love. Please see submission guidelines in a tab at the top of this blog's home page or go directly to the submission guidelines at or to the guideline tab at the top of the home page of this blog. Authors and publishers who do not yet have reviews or want more may use Lois W. Stern's #AuthorsHelpingAuthors service for requesting reviews. Find her guidelines in a tab at the top of the home page, too. Carolyn Wilhelm is our IT expert, an award-winning author, a veteran educator and also contributes reviews and posts on other topics related to books. Reviews, interviews, and articles on this blog are indexed by genre, reviewers' names, and review sites so #TheNewBookReview may be used as a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. As an example, writers will find this blog's search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing

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