I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
Published by Quirk Books on May 12, 2015
Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.
This was an interesting book to read and review. I’m not usually one for nonfiction, but I’m all for fangirls and nerdiness. After reading it, I like two aspects but was overall underwhelmed.
First, this book is hilarious. The author’s voice is so present and just funny. She speaks like a fangirl does. If you follow any fangirls on Twitter… you’d know what I mean. Actually there’s a section on “fangirl speech” that starts with the lines, “Have you ever lost the ability to can? Do you often find yourself overwhelmed with feels?” Lol. That part was actually helpful to me because although in some ways I’m a fangirl, I’m not super caps-locky and feelsy with my reviews or tweets. I guess it’s the English major in me that holds me back from doing that, but it was good to learn some things about what they’re saying.
Second, Sam Magg’s feminist vision is pretty cool. Throughout the book, it’s clear that she is a feminist and she just wants equal rights as a girl, but especially as a fangirl. I liked that though her position was made clear, she didn’t really push anything on the reader until one of the end chapters specifically focused on feminism. An interesting concept that she brought up was this “test” to give movies: Does the film have (1) two named female characters, (2) who talk to each other, (3) about something other than a man. If so, it passes. It seems like that would be easy enough…but think of the Avengers even. Of the top of my head, I can think of two girls, who I can’t remember really talking to each other. Hmm.
And another feminist concept that I found interesting: “In comics, overly sexualized female characters and testosterone-tastic male characters are both male fantasies. The women are male sexual fantasies; the man are male power fantasies.” I JUST WANT TO EXPLORE THIS AND WRITE A PAPER ABOUT IT. Wow, I went all caps-locky and English-majory there, huh?
But besides these aspects, I found information kind of not that informative. Um, this book was really a guide for people who want to be fangirls but don’t know where to start. Does that person really exist? Is being a fangirl a desire for people? I don’t know. Maybe so…I just feel as if you’re a fangirl who fangirls over something or you’re not. So that was a strange concept to me, but maybe I’m just overthinking things (I tend to do that a lot).
Also she included a lot of interviews from authors or comic creators, you know some famous fangirls. The only ones I knew were Erin Morgenstern who wrote The Night Circus (one of my favorite books FYI) and Victoria Schwab, but I liked that she did this. It gave some credibility to the word “fangirl.” Despite that, though…she gave them each the same exact questions so most of the answers were pretty much the same thing in different words. I would’ve liked things to be more personable and individual to get a variety of answers.
Another thing was the information was only relevant to a certain kind of fangirl. It included tons of tips for conventions and cool little geeky clubs and places to hang out. Those things aren’t as present as she seemed to make them. Conventions are expensive with tickets and travel time, and not everyone can make it. And these places, like she gave an example as a board game café, I’m not sure if they really exist. If they did, that’d be awesome. But where do you find things like that? I don’t know.
So there were quite a lot of things that I liked about this book. But then there were things that I didn’t and many things that I didn’t relate to…As someone who would call herself a fangirl (after all I have this blog) but also wouldn’t enjoy participating in cosplay or doing some of the things she spent 40% of the book talking about. But if you’re aspiring fangirl or a girl who wants to become a bigger fangirl (?), then this book is for you. It’ll teach you the in’s and the out’s and even the vocab of the fangirl life.