The Little Girl Who Gave No Fucks is a beautifully illustrated picture book written by Amy Charlotte Kean and illustrated by J. Milton that tells the story of a little girl named Elodie-Rose, who decides one day to keep all of her fucks to herself in her basket.
What are fucks? Her fucks are her emotions, her self-esteem, her happy thoughts, her wonderful ideas and her sad feelings. For far too long, little girls were expected to give a fuck to people who said they were too loud, too fat, too thin, too angry, or too difficult.
One day, Elodie-Rose decides she doesn't want to do that anymore. She wants to keep her fucks in her basket. She asks herself "What would happen if I stopped caring what people thought of me? What if I said what I really thought? What if I told people no? What would people think of me?"
The Little Girl Who Gave No Fucks was crowd-funded and self-published through Unbound, which is an online initiative that aims to break barriers by publishing books rejected by traditional publishers. The book uses humor and expletives in the same way that other picture books for grown-ups have done like Go the Fuck to Sleep and the Lady Bird Books for Grown-Ups series to tell a story designed to resonate with adults.
The Little Girl Who Gave No Fucks has a really interesting premise. An empowering book for feminists written in the time of #MeToo, Amy Keen makes a strong argument that girls and women should stop giving a fuck about all of the things that are expected of them. Keen has stated that writing the book felt like therapy for her. It allowed her to examine her own anxieties, confidence, fears and painful memories.
The Little Girl Who Gave No Fucks explores the expectations we have of girls and boys and the experiences that many girls have growing up. One scene that stood out to me was when a boy grabs Elodie-Rose's arm. Elodie-Rose had always been taught that girls should be good and enjoy boys' affections because they don't like it when given a taste of rejection. But Elodie-Rose decides that she doesn't want to do that today, and politely asks the boy to let her arm go, which causes him to get mad.
I felt that this was a really important message to give to girls. Girls do not owe boys anything and should stop giving a fuck about hurting their feelings. It is ok to turn down their affections, reject them, and to not smile when asked. This is not being mean. It is being true to yourself.
Keen also has some interesting comments about whether you can read this book to small children. She argues that words change their meaning over time and that the offense of the word 'fuck' is subjective. Keen feels that saying the word fuck can be freeing, because of the expectations we put on girls on how to behave. Be a good girl. Be nice. Be quiet. Smile. Would it be empowering if girls used the word fuck as an act of defiance?
Keen does note, though, that words can do real damage. It can be empowering to 'let your fucks fly free' but that doesn't mean that girls should think it is ok to call people ugly, fat, stupid or weird.Keen also doesn't think that the word fuck should be forced upon anyone. The Girl Who Gave Zero Fucks is written for teens and young adults, but Keen thinks it is appropriate to read to babies and young children, if the word 'fucks' is substituted with the word 'yucks'.
The Girl Who Gave Zero Fucks is a passionate feminist book designed to empower young girls and women into feeling more confident to make bold choices without fear or judgement. I felt like this book would have been great if it wasn't for a couple of things. At 88 pages it was far too long for me. I felt like large sections of the book could have been cut out without altering or damaging the overall message. The language in the book was also too flowery for me. I know this was done to make it read like a fairy tale, but I found it a bit cumbersome, and borderline difficult to read out loud at times.
I still recommend the book though, because of its strong, positive message in it about being true to yourself. It's the perfect book to read to teens and young adults, because they are often suffering from bullying, body image and other worries.