A big thank you to The Write Reads for allowing me to be part of this blog tour.
Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney
Published By: Penguin
Released: 11th February 2021
CAWPILE Rating: 6.8 / 3 ★
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Alex is a rebel from the tip of her purple fauxhawk to the toes of her biker boots. She’s tried everything she can think of to get expelled from her strict Catholic boarding school. Nothing has worked so far – but now, Alex has a new plan.
Tired of the sexism she sees in every corner of St Mary’s, Alex decides to stage the school’s first ever production of The Vagina Monologues. Which is going to be a challenge, as no one else at St Mary’s can even bear to say the word ‘vagina’ out loud . . .
It’s been a while since I’d read an empowering, feminist tale, so when I heard about Bad Habits I knew I had to get my hands on it. I was instantly drawn into it by the gorgeous cover and the incredible sounding synopsis. It’s no secret to say that I was looking forward to meeting Alex and seeing what her story was like.
Alex is a rebel by no means and has been trying everything she can to be expelled from her strict Catholic boarding school, St Mary’s. As a self-confessed feminist, she is tired of seeing the everyday sexism within her school, so decides to put on the school’s first-ever showing of The Vagina Monologues. However, this is a challenge for Alex as 1) no one at St Mary’s can even say the word vagina out loud and 2) the strict priests and nuns at the school will try and stop her at every turn.
This was a funny, witty, empowering read that had me laughing at some parts. From the very first chapter you are thrust into Alex’s world of rebellion and anarchy, and this sets the tone for the rest of the story. As someone who worked in a catholic school for a while, albeit not as strict as St Mary’s I could relate to the overall setting and plot somewhat and did understand how Alex felt to a certain extent. The female empowerment that is seen throughout the book is one that will introduce an audience of younger readers to feminist writings, and will hopefully open their eyes to the issues that women and girls still do face.
The plot brings with it a sense of comedic value, mixed with the seriousness of the issues tackled. We see the mishaps of Alex, as she tries to navigate herself around this sexist agenda that is being seen around the school, as well as the seriousness of her trying to bring about change to St Mary’s. The inclusion of her trying to stage a production of The Vagina Monologues, known for its views on the feminine experience including themes on sex, body image, love, masturbation etc, was in my opinion genius! I found it insightful and eyeopening to see the reaction of her fellow students and staff members, and it did bring across how there’s still more that needs me to done in opening people’s eyes to these topics. The only downside to the plot was that I wanted to see them perform the play, and from the synopsis of the book, I did think this was going to happen. However, this aside I did enjoy the overall story and plot and found it be refreshing and chucklesome.
Alex was a fierce character, who you know was going to fight for what she believes in, and I admired that about her. Mind you, I did find her to be a little bit stubborn with her beliefs and she didn’t take other people’s views into account. This did, however, take her on a journey of self-realisation and help her realise that views on the subject of feminism can differ and that that’s okay. We do see her grow as a character throughout the story, and come to the end she’s a much more respectful, tolerable person.
Bad Habits was a fun feminist read that will leave you feeling both empowered and ready to change the world no matter what.