Out of the feminist writing I’ve read this year, this was the most individual book I came across – readable, anecdotal, and wry even when the subject matter was upsetting, Ingrid Bengis tells the story of her relationship with men, women, love and feminism. It’s incisive and surprising and very self-aware.

It’s fascinating to read about a woman’s experience of oppression written from outside a feminist framework: she doesn’t call herself a feminist, isn’t straightforwardly straight but doesn’t call herself bi or lesbian, and by away from these familiar concepts she takes a number of easy assumptions away from readers. She defines as ‘man-hating’. She hates and fears and fights this identity, and she watches men closely and slowly finds that this man-hating of hers is born from their behaviour: from abuse she’s faced and the unthinking oppressions she notices when she looks.

It’s not a comfortable book: she talks about being raped, she talks about her own internalised homophobia, she talks about being sexually assaulted as a child. I didn’t find it added many big ideas or concepts to my understanding of feminism, either: what I felt like it taught me was how different women could relate to feminism – Bengis is a glamorous white cis woman from a conservative background who grew up presenting as heterosexual, and I only tick three of those boxes – and how lucky I am to have come to feminism without nearly as many internal struggles as Bengis needed to get where she did.

(I’m not keen on linking to shops, but while found this in a library it looks long-since out of print and probably hard to source. So in case it’s handy for anyone, when I was putting it on my list of books to buy if I ever got to make myself a feminist bookshelf, it looked like the cheapest place to find it in the UK was on AbeBooks: here)