The full title of the book is Cambodian Grrrl: Self Publishing in Phnom Penh. But this book is neither about Cambodia nor self-publishing. Rather it is about love.
Sure, Anne heads out to Cambodia and meets up with a gaggle of giggly Cambodian grrrls who live in the only dormitory for females in the country. Sure she teaches them how to make zines and express their thoughts and feelings. But the main theme is love. And me telling you that does not ruin the book. In fact it may make it even more awesome for you.
The most poignant part of the book is how powerful it is to teach young women to value their voice. Anne does it over and over, sometimes not even aware of the women she is teaching until a zine finds itself onto her bunk, as if some underground rebel newspaper. And in many ways, it is.
Anne writes in the same manner as she speaks. Direct and simple yet complex. She doesn't waste time with a lot of big academic speak, instead she paints complex thought exercises with every day words. I think this is why I love her so. There's no way you can miss when she throws down the gauntlet like when asks you to consider why those of us in the USA would be up in arms over Cambodians never being educated about the Khmer Rouge, but we barely bat an eye on the invisibleness of the plight of American Indians.
Somehow Anne is able to discuss issues of democracy, freedom of speech, the global garment market, slave labor, rape, mass murder and a litany of other tough subjects and leave me smiling. That left me with hope that all we really do need is love. And a sharpie.
Seriously, go now to Powells or the publisher itself and buy yourself a copy of this book. You will thank me. Promise.
* The Powells book links is an affiliate link. If you buy your book there I could make a very small amount of money that goes towards this blog. The publisher link makes me nada. I can't find this book available on IndieBound as of today.