Backwards in High Heels: The Impossible Art of Being Female

Sarah Vine and Tania Kindersley

The world is a fraught place for the contemporary female.

Working mothers are still expected to make their children’s costumes for the school play, despite the fact that home economics was abolished in the Seventies; we’re told it’s not looks but brains that count, and yet if we dare to leave the house looking vaguely our age we’re made to feel like failures; women’s magazines run earnest articles about the evils of size 0 culture, only to feature models with hips like 10-year-old boys a few pages later; we pay the same level of taxation as men, and yet on average we earn 25% less.

So, this book – a book for women who never got around to perfecting the art of domestic divinity but would quite like to be able to cook supper for six without having a nervous breakdown; who never quite mastered Cosmo’s 101 ways to please your man, but don’t want the embarrassment, not to say inconvenience, of him running off with a 19-year-old Russian supermodel.

It’s your mother, your best friend, your guru and your shrink wrapped up in book form, with jokes. It’s the antidote to every stupid, boring, reductive magazine article you’ve ever read, or every silly, hair-twirling, chick lit confection about girls called Arabella who marry bankers and live in Gstaad. It’s for women who love their children but don’t want them to run their lives; and for women who love their lives and won’t have them run by children. It’s about revising expectations, exploding myths and generally dealing with all that life, love and other people have to throw at you.

Reviews of Backwards in High Heels: The Impossible Art of Being Female

    • ‘Magnificent. Their guide is infused with wit, warmth and wisdom and a refreshing dose of common sense.’ Stephanie Merritt, Observer
    • ‘I love this book. It’s one of those rare beasts that you want to earmark, scribble in and rush out and buy for all your girlfriends. Intensely charming, like a clever, fascinating woman in an impeccable little black dress at a dinner party where every other woman is flashing her fake tits and batting her eyelashes. “Backwards in High Heels” tells it how it is’  India Knight, Sunday Times
    • ‘“Backwards in High Heels” is a gem. Not a self-help book or a style guide, but full of kindly practical advice and information about subjects from love to grief to philosophy. Worldly, witty and wonderfully wise, this lovely book about negotiating the world if you’re a modern woman should be handed out free on the NHS.’ Tina Jackson, Metro
    • ‘A witty and penetrating examination of the fantasies women create that imprison them. Marvellously liberating.’ Dorothy Rowe