Review-ish: She Said by Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey

Photo by Rach who is currently borrowing this during lockdown!

‘You should be the hero of the story, not the villain. This is very doable.’

I brought this in a childish fit of vengeance from A****n when I finally got some money back off of them after getting hacked in October. This was my way of giving them them middle finger.

In She Said, Kantor and Twohey, journalists for the New York Times, relive the experience of breaking one of the biggest stories in their journalistic careers, exposing the Harvey Winstein scandal. They chart their progress, from the initial whisperings to the after-math, including the testimony of Blasey-Ford against Brett Kavanaugh.

It is so compellingly written that I read the first half in one sitting, whilst occasionally huffing and sometimes exclaiming out loud. Your heart can’t help but break at what these women, including the journalists, went through. I happened to read it at the time of Weinstein’s trial, which I began to follow obsessively. It felt like a turning point.

The journalistic process, and how it has changed in the age of ligitation, was eye-opening to me, and I believe its made me more aware of where I get my news from and how credible it is. To make such a long, drawn-out and oftentimes painful process so interesting to the reader, is a testament to their exceptional writing. And its not gossip, or needlessly provocative. They state the facts and the facts speak for themselves.

The authors don’t fail to note that Ronan Farrow (of the New Yorker) was also instrumental in breaking the story, and he documents his own story in Catch and Kill (which I haven’t read yet). I found this fascinating and really warmed to the authors for their generosity of spirit in this (as well as the fact that Kantor replied to a Tweet of mine!) From what I can tell, they acknowledge everyone who helped to bring this about, including women critical to the wider #MeToo movement. There’s no ego in this book, other than Weinsteins, I guess.

She Said not only addresses the industry structures that protect people like Weinstein for decades, but also the laws that allow such abuses of power to happen and take away the victims voices. The prevalence of non-disclosure agreements in just this one instance was staggering, and I dread to think how many other people have been silenced in this way.

This has really helped me to understand how genuinely good and definitively entertaining non-fiction can be, so I’m keeping an eye out for more like this. Has anyone read this or Catch and Kill?

Kelly

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