Title: How Do We Know We're Doing It Right?

Author: Pandora Sykes

Published: July 2020

Genres: Non-fiction, Feminism, Education




Modern life is full of choices. But how do we know what our best life looks like? And what if we get it wrong? Incisive, wide-ranging and witty, HOW DO WE KNOW WE'RE DOING IT RIGHT? explores the questions, anxieties and agendas that consume our lives. Pandora Sykes interrogates the stories we've been sold and the ones we tell ourselves - from happiness to wellness; womanhood to consumerism - in ways that are both surprising and reassuring. HOW DO WE KNOW WE'RE DOING IT RIGHT? will spark a thousand conversations and encourage us to find our own path to contentment.

Pandora Sykes is a journalist and contributing editor and columnist for ELLE magazine. Previously the Fashion Features Editor and a columnist for the Sunday Times Style, she has also written for the Telegraph, Guardian, GQ, i-D, Red magazine, Vogue Australia and Man Repeller. With Dolly Alderton, Pandora Sykes hosts the no 1 iTunes current affairs podcast The High Low, which has 250,000 weekly listeners and has featured authors including Leila Slimani, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Tina Brown.


TAY'S REVIEW  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I can appreciate that a lot of the negative reviews of this book come from a place of disappointment, in many cases, fans of Pandora who were expecting somewhat of a memoir or at a minimum some original insight into her fundamental beliefs. Somewhat luckily, I had little previous exposure to Pandora and no expectations going into her book and ended up enjoying it for the very reason many didn’t. Yes, it was deeply researched, highly cited and not uncommon for Pandora’s voice to be lost amongst the dozens of others she referenced, but it always struck me as quite remarkable how expertly she was able to take so many puzzle pieces of information and construct it into a series of eloquent and relevant essays. There were a few times I felt allusively chastised by someone on their high horse (particularly when she spoke about how she gave up social media), but in most cases I felt she represented multiple sides of an argument, allowing the reader to form their own opinion. My advice? Know what you’re in for when you’re picking it up.



There is no doubt this was well researched, but to me it was a tad overly referenced. The citations seemed disjointed at times, and let’s be real, when you put a number of sources together in one short paragraph, it takes literary genius to make it fluent. When I started I couldn’t help but feel like I was being led to believe what I was doing, was wrong. Conceded, it’s not a memoir, but I still found myself longing for some personalisation from Pandora herself to allow me to fully digest and internally reflect on why. Towards the end she slowly shed more light, and I felt she became more open, providing some relief from the incessive citation, and instead filling the gaps with her own thoughts and supporting them with sources. The biggest highlight by far for me was the final essay on empathy. And I could go as far as to say this is worth picking up, for that essay alone.

Ps. @michelleandrews1, you called, we answered.



“The truth is that it is hard to imagine a world where women do not struggle to reconcile their fragments, where women do not feel paralysed as well as rewarded by choice, where women’s fragments are not used as weapons against them."

"If like me, you are privileged enough to not require safe spaces or trigger warnings, it does not mean that you should dismiss them, like a man who will never need an abortion but is nevertheless vehemently against them."



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