book review: I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya



I’M AFRAID OF MEN by Vivek Shraya
Penguin Books Canada


A worthwhile, sobering account of Shraya’s own experiences with toxic masculinity and societal expectations of gender roles; hardly unfamiliar topics if you read a lot of this kind of nonfiction, but Shraya’s perspective as a queer trans woman of color is a valuable addition to the discourse, and I’d highly recommend this over a lot of similar books, especially if you’re looking for something short and punchy.

My only issue is that at 96 pages (or under 2 hours on audio, which is how I consumed it) this text sort of awkwardly sits in between long-form article and book in a way that suffers occasionally for its brevity.  Shraya’s societal observations are where this book shines, consistently; it’s in the details of her own life that the reader is left a bit wanting.  But as this is more essay than memoir it’s hard to fault it too much for that.  This was a very eye-opening read that I can see myself revisiting again and again.

You can pick up a copy of I’m Afraid of Men here on Book Depository.

8 thoughts on “book review: I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

  1. Great review! I have this one on my TBR, but I didn’t realize it was quite that short! That might help me get to it sooner. It definitely sounds like a worthwhile read from an important perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really did, and I think it was first put on my radar due to your review so thanks for that! I just found myself craving a few more details about Shraya’s life (but I’m also aware that it wasn’t meant to be a memoir so I was a little torn about that piece of criticism; I don’t think this book fails in any way for what it sets out to do, I just wanted it to do something every so slightly different). But yes, looking forward to reading more from Shraya!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, this one didn’t work for me, partly due to the length and I really felt this was an article or essay rather than a book. And I just didn’t find it to earth shattering. I hate to say it since Shraya is local and I loved her previous work. But I’ll wait for what’s next.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really did feel like an article! I’m optimistic about whatever Shraya does next because I do think she has some real talent, but this just didn’t go as deep as I wanted it to.


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