Be Awesome is awesome! Bravo, Hadley Freeman, for writing such a great book and telling the truth, without being dour or preachy, about the effort required to be a sane and healthy modern woman. Because it is quite a task, what with so many expectations to navigate and adversaries to take on. Freeman writes with pinpoint accuracy about the cultural and everyday travails women face, but Be Awesome isn’t just a series of essays about, among other things, the way women are depicted in the movies, feminism, eating disorders, and the unfairness (mostly) of sex. It is also, as its directive title would imply, a handbook full of advice. It offers a cure. It tells you how to appreciate the daily grind of office life, how to enjoy a fashion magazine without feeling anxious, and how to cope when all your friends are having babies except you. It tells you how to give a blow job. It suggests great books to read, movies to avoid and women to emulate. It’s not a memoir, like Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman, but Freeman does write frankly about herself and her own experiences when they prove useful – most notably in the chapter on eating disorders, in which she describes her own anorexia with incredible clarity. It’s a brilliant piece of writing. But Be Awesome isn’t just about modern women coping with modern life, it’s a modern book all round. Freeman uses different voices when it suits her. She employs parody to startling effect. She’s resolutely un-snobbish in terms of her references, which are broad but never vague. And she can be do funny as well as she does deadly serious. This is the book we are buying for all our female friends, old and young. Especially young. If you’re a certain age, you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re young, you need it.