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Review: Girl Squads by Sam Maggs

Review: Girl Squads by Sam Maggs

‘A collection of true stories from around the world of diverse and powerful female friendships that changed history.

A fun and feisty tour of famous girl BFFs from history who stuck together and changed the world.

A modern girl is nothing without her squad of besties. But don’t let all the hashtags fool you: the #girlsquad goes back a long, long time. In this hilarious and heartfelt book, geek girl Sam Maggs takes you on a tour of some of history’s most famous female BFFs.

Spanning art, science, politics, activism, and even sports, these girl squads show just how essential female friendship has been throughout history and throughout the world.’

Firstly, thank you to Quirk Books for my copy of Girl Squads! It was a lovely surprise and a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Girl Squads is a read that had me from the first page (from the very first paragraph, if I’m honest). In her introduction, Maggs effectively reaches the heart of what it is to be a woman, questioning the presentation of female friendships in the media and pointing out the glaring differences in how television and film portray them compared to the real experiences of women. That the matter of male dominance in the world of script writing (and writing in general) is so immediately addressed as what it is – a real problem and a means of control – only made me more sure that I was going to love this book.

And I did. Covered in a series of chapters, including warriors, artists and scientists (among others), Girl Squads tells the tales of important and inspiring female friendships and collaborations from across the world. Beyond the content itself and Maggs’ engaging and familiar tone, what I most appreciated was the use of historical evidence to support the stories being told, including a bibliography at the end of the book, which can be found in full on the Quirk website. This in particular helps to reinforce the idea that, though some of the stories may contain elements which seem fantastical, that we have historical accounts suggests that the women themselves truly existed, if not always necessarily how the history has been passed down to new generations. That it is most often men who have sought to twist the tales to suit their purposes and make them seem unbelievable (or to paint women in a negative light) is addressed on more than one occasion and is a reminder of the importance of the female narrative.

Girl Squads has something inspiring for all women, its range of topics such that it’s sure to contain a story will appeal, no matter the reader’s personal interests or preferred area of study. It’s a book about women working together and supporting each other in a world that still seems all too frightened of what we can achieve by doing so. With so much in the media determined to try and turn women against each other and insistent upon competition and jealousy, Girl Squads is a much needed breath of fresh air and valuable look into female achievement and what it means to look out for each other.