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House of Anansi Press


A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls

Written by Elizabeth Renzetti

Published March 06, 2018 | ISBN 9781487003043

Cover of Shrewed

Regular price $22.95 CAD

304 pages | 8 in × 5.25 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book


A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls

Elizabeth Renzetti

Why are there so few women in politics? Why is public space, whether it’s the street or social media, still so inhospitable to women? What does Carrie Fisher have to do with Mary Wollstonecraft? And why is a wedding ceremony Satan’s playground?

These are some of the questions that bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Renzetti examines in her new collection of original essays. Drawing upon her decades of reporting on feminist issues, Shrewed is a book about feminism’s crossroads. From Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign to the quest for equal pay, from the lessons we can learn from old ladies to the future of feminism in a turbulent world, Renzetti takes a pointed, witty look at how far we’ve come — and how far we have to go.

If Nellie McClung and Erma Bombeck had an IVF baby, this book would be the result. If they’d lived at the same time. And in the same country. And if IVF had been invented. Well, you get the point.

About the Author

Elizabeth Renzetti

ELIZABETH RENZETTI is a columnist for the Globe and Mail, and has reported for many years from Toronto, Los Angeles, and London. She is also the bestselling author of the novel Based on a True Story, which was a finalist for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and a Canadian bestseller. She lives in Toronto with her husband, author and Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders, and their two children.

Awards and Praise


A Chatelaine Book of the Year
A 49th Shelf Book of the Year

“Renzetti moves effortlessly between serious systemic inequality and the equally enraging, if sometimes amusing, everyday absurdities women face, effectively capturing this cultural moment and offering a resounding call to recognize — and organize against — the pernicious sexism that still exists in the world.” — Booklist

“A fierce and insightful collection of essays that draws on the heartbreaking injustices women have faced in the past, while looking toward a future that only sometimes looks bright.” — Hamilton Review of Books

“Brilliant, generous, biting, and moving … rich with lessons learned from a few decades on the feminist frontline.” — Pickle Me This

“Renzetti's wit and fierce intelligence are on display in full force in this essay collection … This is a book that will make you laugh, then move you to tears, and you're going to want to give a copy to every woman you know.” — 49th Shelf

“Artfully examines the considerable achievements of women.” — Reader’s Digest

“Renzetti’s prose is clever, witty, and accessible, making the book fun for feminists and a good gift for anyone who questions why feminism is still necessary.” — Publishers Weekly

“All the essays offer humour, pathos, and razor-sharp insight.” — Herizons

“A must-read for 2018.” — Niagara Life

“A wonderful and powerful collection of essays.” — Alexa Talks Books

“Renzetti takes a pointed look at how far we’ve come — and how far we have left to go.” — Bookseller

“The breath of fresh air I have been desperately seeking.” — Girly Book Club

“This is a clearly welcome voice and a necessary book.” — Brief Take

“This is a book that all women need to read! ” — A Couple Reads


Finalist, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
Canadian Bestseller
A Winnipeg Free Press Top Read of 2014

“I’m a big Elizabeth Renzetti fan … This novel is a hell of a lot of fun … Made me laugh so hard I cried … Incisive, street-wise, and written with the deft hand of a truly talented scribe.” — Globe and Mail

“At the madly beating heart of Elizabeth Renzetti’s debut novel Based on a True Story is a great female buddy movie … The novel is packed with absolutely fabulous lines … A seriously funny book.” — National Post

“Witty debut … wild, rollicking tale of celebrity culture, reinvention in mid-life, addiction, ambition, motherhood, and confronting past regrets.” — Zoomer

“A winner … By turns hilarious and dark, always riveting, and crammed with satirical observations … [Augusta and Frances’s] antics remind you of those in the popular 1991 buddy movie Thelma and Louise, and Renzetti pulls them off with similar aplomb. In her weekly column, Renzetti uses her considerable wit and skill to make any topic engaging. She uses the same talents to make you care about Augusta and Frances — despite their flaws — and as a consequence her first novel succeeds admirably.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“A hilarious and bizarrely fascinating look at functioning drug addiction. I couldn’t put it down.” — Geist

“Powered by quick-fire dialogue and flamboyant characters, Renzetti deftly renders disparate personality types who are lovable despite (or, in some cases, because of) their myriad failings … Renzetti succeeds in showcasing the unreliable nature of storytelling. In one tableau, Augusta quips to a beleaguered Frances, ‘Darling, no one wants the facts of life. They want the story.’ This idea is at the core of Renzetti’s tale. Telling one’s own story is a powerful gesture, and the author has managed to relay that notion in a fun, frolicking way, through the lens of an unlikely yet tender female friendship.” — Quill & Quire