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30 review for Stronger: Changing Everything I Knew About Women’s Strength

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    I actually didn’t finish this book but needed to get it off my currently reading (read half which I think gave it a fair chance). Don’t generally write reviews but wanted to explain that I’m giving 2 stars because I think it’s a super important message (women can be empowered through sport) but really it could have been an article, not a whole book. It felt so repetitive and very disjointed, kind of jumping all over the place. I almost felt like I was reading something that hadn’t been edited. I I actually didn’t finish this book but needed to get it off my currently reading (read half which I think gave it a fair chance). Don’t generally write reviews but wanted to explain that I’m giving 2 stars because I think it’s a super important message (women can be empowered through sport) but really it could have been an article, not a whole book. It felt so repetitive and very disjointed, kind of jumping all over the place. I almost felt like I was reading something that hadn’t been edited. I think Poorna Bell is incredible and inspiring but this really was not for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paula Street

    This is an excellent book. I learned a lot about communities that I’m not familiar with, and unconscious bias, as well as exercise in general and power lifting in particular. Inspiring! Thoroughly recommended!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    "How many of us have thought that fitness, physical activity or sport wasn't for us because we didn't look like how we thought a fit person should" An empowering book that would be a good read for people looking for inspiration to get back in to fitness and moving their body, however it is that you choose to do so. It's well researched with survey results from 1000 women, other well known ladies (including Bryony Gordon and Fearne Cotton) as well as information from other data research, Poorna Be "How many of us have thought that fitness, physical activity or sport wasn't for us because we didn't look like how we thought a fit person should" An empowering book that would be a good read for people looking for inspiration to get back in to fitness and moving their body, however it is that you choose to do so. It's well researched with survey results from 1000 women, other well known ladies (including Bryony Gordon and Fearne Cotton) as well as information from other data research, Poorna Bell also draws on her own life and experiences to inspire other women. I enjoy Poorna Bell's writing style - it is easy to read however there was just something lacking in this book, it was a bit disjointed and occasionally felt like it was jumping from one subject or person to another with no flow. I think if you are already someone that partakes in exercise already this may not be for you as is is very much an encouraging collection of stories and stats to get you started and develop your strength. Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an advanced digital copy in exchange for my honest review

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hayley Thorpe

    I will be writing a proper review but wow! A truly empowering read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sian Bradshaw

    This review is for the Audible version. I liked the book. Poorna is an excellent story teller. She can build visual pictures that are extremely vivid. Her story of how she got to her version of strong, is sad but uplifting. She has clearly done so much research on how different groups of women access, or don't access, sport/exercise and raises a lot of interesting questions. It is slightly more of a self-help book than I was looking for but I still enjoyed it. I suggest reading this with a smart This review is for the Audible version. I liked the book. Poorna is an excellent story teller. She can build visual pictures that are extremely vivid. Her story of how she got to her version of strong, is sad but uplifting. She has clearly done so much research on how different groups of women access, or don't access, sport/exercise and raises a lot of interesting questions. It is slightly more of a self-help book than I was looking for but I still enjoyed it. I suggest reading this with a smart phone at hand or pen and paper to write down all those who she mentions so you can look them up later.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for an advance copy of this book. Stronger is a story about womens strength in all its forms. It is wonderfully written by an incredible author and is packed full of empowering stories and references. The author Poorna Bell, is honest and authentic, speaking about issues sensitively and with her whole heart. I loved the fact she checked her own privilege and encouraged the reader to do so. Poorna is also incredibly inclusive in her writing. She talks about her Thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for an advance copy of this book. Stronger is a story about womens strength in all its forms. It is wonderfully written by an incredible author and is packed full of empowering stories and references. The author Poorna Bell, is honest and authentic, speaking about issues sensitively and with her whole heart. I loved the fact she checked her own privilege and encouraged the reader to do so. Poorna is also incredibly inclusive in her writing. She talks about her own barriers into sports and empathises with others about theirs. I loved how she was able to weave in science to back up her points, but managed to do this in a totally non off putting way. I have honestly never felt so empowered after reading a book, and I will be encouraging all my friends to read this. Thank you Poorna!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Burland

    I have to confess, I started reading this book thinking it was about mental and emotional strength, and although they do come into it, the main focus is physical strength and fitness. I really wanted to love the book, and I think I'm the sort of person it's aimed at - someone who has never had a love of exercise but who wants to be healthier and fitter - but I found it really hard to engage with the book. As another reviewer noted, in some parts it's great reading, while other parts really drag. I have to confess, I started reading this book thinking it was about mental and emotional strength, and although they do come into it, the main focus is physical strength and fitness. I really wanted to love the book, and I think I'm the sort of person it's aimed at - someone who has never had a love of exercise but who wants to be healthier and fitter - but I found it really hard to engage with the book. As another reviewer noted, in some parts it's great reading, while other parts really drag. The author is clearly an incredible woman with a great passion for her chosen sport of power lifting, but I did find the sometimes relentless focus on this sport dispiriting. I also felt that there wasn't much acknowledgement of the barriers of money and time that stop so many women exercising regularly. I think this book would probably be loved by women with a strong interest in sport and fitness, but as I'm not one of those women I found it quite alienating. 3.5 stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    book(ish)

    I'm half way through this book and hoping to finish it to bump it up to 4stars as I find Poorna Bell intelligent and articulate journalist and at times her writing in this book is wonderfully poetic - but at present I'm feeling a little stuck with this read (on audible). As a female powerlifting novice myself I really appreciate and applaud a book that sheds light on this niche area of fitness, which is why I got the book, however at times it feels too narrow focussed and I imagine many readers I'm half way through this book and hoping to finish it to bump it up to 4stars as I find Poorna Bell intelligent and articulate journalist and at times her writing in this book is wonderfully poetic - but at present I'm feeling a little stuck with this read (on audible). As a female powerlifting novice myself I really appreciate and applaud a book that sheds light on this niche area of fitness, which is why I got the book, however at times it feels too narrow focussed and I imagine many readers not connecting with the prose, despite the writers obvious enthusiasm for heavy lifting. Also I feel at times the author is overly repetitive and the train of thought jumps around and tough to follow. Finally my last gripe with this book, as I have found with many "insta-book deals" is the heavy reliance on anecdotes from "someone amazing on Instagram" as "facts", alongside the over use of cliche topics (plus size /body positive /LGBTQ+) dropped in every other sentence to be trendy rather than truely "inclusive".

  9. 5 out of 5

    Humaira

    This is such a fantastic book and much needed. Poorna talks about the barriers preventing women of all ages, sizes and abilities from getting physically strong. The book is in-depth has Poorna’s own personal experiences interspersed with women’s loved experiences. It’s an inspirational book but also talks about the practical side of how women can also get involved and work past negative stereotypes to get physically fit. Poorna shares the many initiatives and organisations that are working to tackle This is such a fantastic book and much needed. Poorna talks about the barriers preventing women of all ages, sizes and abilities from getting physically strong. The book is in-depth has Poorna’s own personal experiences interspersed with women’s loved experiences. It’s an inspirational book but also talks about the practical side of how women can also get involved and work past negative stereotypes to get physically fit. Poorna shares the many initiatives and organisations that are working to tackle barriers and get people involved in fitness and sports. I’d highly recommend this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Asghar

    A great book walking you through our journey with fitness and how our beliefs are influenced from an early age. Well researched and thought provoking and sensitive. Poorna is able to articulate so well women’s experience throughout their lives whatever age, while documenting her own personal journey. She challenges the idea of what society deems as healthy and highlights the importance of mental well being and how we often miss the point. I would highly recommend it. You may not run straight down A great book walking you through our journey with fitness and how our beliefs are influenced from an early age. Well researched and thought provoking and sensitive. Poorna is able to articulate so well women’s experience throughout their lives whatever age, while documenting her own personal journey. She challenges the idea of what society deems as healthy and highlights the importance of mental well being and how we often miss the point. I would highly recommend it. You may not run straight down to the gym but it will certainly give you food for thought. 🏋🏻‍♀️❤️💪

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anna Norman

    In parts, excellent, in others, dragging. When it's good, this is a really thorough and thoughtful exposition of how culture prevents women from accessing exercise and the benefits they miss out on as a result. When it's bad, it reads like an extremely long blog post, with references dropped in to add gravitas but not enough of them to actually inform very much of the discussion. For example, the chapter that discusses food uses Laura Thomas' book on intuitive eating heavily as reference materia In parts, excellent, in others, dragging. When it's good, this is a really thorough and thoughtful exposition of how culture prevents women from accessing exercise and the benefits they miss out on as a result. When it's bad, it reads like an extremely long blog post, with references dropped in to add gravitas but not enough of them to actually inform very much of the discussion. For example, the chapter that discusses food uses Laura Thomas' book on intuitive eating heavily as reference material - not a bad thing in itself but referencing a range of material adds strength to an argument so this felt rather lazy, hence my feeling of it reading like a blog post that says 'I read a book that supports my position, I'm going to use the other person's work to create something I can market as my own'. Also, the call to 'make gyms more inclusive' is repeated often but never fleshed out. And the chapter on menstruation included the suggestion that PE teachers take their female students' menstrual cycles 'into account'- how exactly should that be done for a group of 30 people?! Overall, the book has pushed me to evaluate my relationship with exercise and to want to work on my strength, but I think more work is needed to make it a really valuable and insightful read

  12. 5 out of 5

    Derek Keir

    A book that doesn't why away, you cannot help but he shaped, inspired and question what your strong should be. Thank you for writing this, this is the book all future PE teachers need to read but also a reminder to all of us working in sport to take a real look at what barriers may exist and continue to strive to challenge assumptions to ensure sport is for everyone. I urge all PE teachers, lecturers and those working across sport to read and digest this. Experiences at all ages and stages matte A book that doesn't why away, you cannot help but he shaped, inspired and question what your strong should be. Thank you for writing this, this is the book all future PE teachers need to read but also a reminder to all of us working in sport to take a real look at what barriers may exist and continue to strive to challenge assumptions to ensure sport is for everyone. I urge all PE teachers, lecturers and those working across sport to read and digest this. Experiences at all ages and stages matter

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anji Andrews

    I waited for this book for ages and it didn’t disappoint. Poorna is a formidable woman whom I have long admired, and her writing is clever, witty, informative, honest. I feel educated about women in a way I didn’t know I needed to be, and I feel empowered to continue fighting for women to be strong (including myself).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    A book i wish I had when I was younger. I also wish I could go back in time and get my PE teacher to read it. This was a really interesting read and as someone who has only discovered a joy in exercise later in life I related to a lot.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Chui

    I loved reading this book and particularly enjoyed how poorna highlighted so many issues that women face in fitness like the lack of diversity and ageism. This is also a really great resource for learning about diverse female athletes and I enjoyed reading this book so much.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ollie

    Very important book. Everyone should read it. Off to find myself a fitness community that fits me! 😆

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Loved this. I wish I'd had this book when I was a teenager! Highly recommend. Loved this. I wish I'd had this book when I was a teenager! Highly recommend.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fabulous Book Fiend

    I definitely learned a lot from this book and I also found it very reassuring. I love that Poorna reads the audiobook herself-full review to come!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karina Webster

    listened to the audiobook via my library, highly recommend!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sayali

    A powerful book, great narration by the author. Definitely motivated me to be stronger in my own way!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Juliet FitzPatrick

    I loved Stronger. Poorna has written a powerful and accessible book about women’s relationship with strength and movement. There were so many parts of the book that made me want to jump up and shout “yes” and then crack on with my next exercise session, whether that be walking my dogs or the latest in a long line of rehabilitation sessions. Poorna writes about all the ways in which women have been held back when their natural inclination may well have been to become strong. Whether that’s because I loved Stronger. Poorna has written a powerful and accessible book about women’s relationship with strength and movement. There were so many parts of the book that made me want to jump up and shout “yes” and then crack on with my next exercise session, whether that be walking my dogs or the latest in a long line of rehabilitation sessions. Poorna writes about all the ways in which women have been held back when their natural inclination may well have been to become strong. Whether that’s because of the messages that girls are given about PE and sport in school, or the male dominated and intimidating gyms that are unwelcoming, many women have negative feelings about being strong. And there’s also the issue of putting on muscle being seen by society as unfeminine, rather than a positive and necessary attribute for women, especially as middle age approaches. Poornas’s premise is that physical and mental strength for women are tightly interwoven, It’s possible to have one without the other, but together they help to build a foundation from which we can operate at full strength in every aspect of our lives. I really enjoyed the passages about moving our bodies purely for the fun of it, rather than to lose weight. Topping up on endorphins and fuelling our bodies for activity, rather than cutting down and counting calories. Poorna writes about intuitive eating could be the way forward by understanding our bodies and learning how much and when to eat. There are chapters on diet culture, mental health, illness, periods, menopause and exercising in later life, among other subjects. Throughout the book, Poorna’s strength story is interspersed with inspiring stories of women from so many sectors of society, all describing how they interact or don’t with exercise and activity. Poorna ran a survey of 1,043 girls and women to discover our experiences and influences around physical activity throughout our lives. The findings are scattered throughout the book and make for fascinating reading. I remember messaging Poorna when I’d finished reading Chapter Six which is about how she met Jack, her power lifting coach and became her strongest self through power lifting. That chapter really resonated with me – I found it so exciting and inspiring. It’s not just about the physical part of lifting though. It’s also about how lifting helped Poorna recover from her crushing emotional trauma. There’s also the community of lifters that Poorna became part of – the solidarity and support system and friendship. These are such a huge part of finding strength. However you move, and even if you don’t right now, there will be a part of this book that will resonate with you. It may even inspire you to put on your trainers and go out for a walk in the sunshine.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie Morrison

    For any women or person who has ever hated exercise or the pressure to look a certain way this book is for you. I started crossfit 2 years ago and weight lifting 6 months ago prior to that always felt like I wasn't good enough to take part of try something. This book is about trying things and being you. For any women or person who has ever hated exercise or the pressure to look a certain way this book is for you. I started crossfit 2 years ago and weight lifting 6 months ago prior to that always felt like I wasn't good enough to take part of try something. This book is about trying things and being you.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Paddon

    Love this! Vital reading for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the female relationship to sport and to our bodies!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Electra Jones

    Don’t bother, waste of money and space, didn’t even finish reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    my bookworm life

    📖 New review. [Pr product] Thank you so much to @bluebird for sending me this proof of @poornabell upcoming book Stronger, out on 29th April. My god, I don’t have enough praise for this. The emotions and thoughts I went through while reading this are priceless, and I feel like I already owe the author a lot. I genuinely have only read few books that feel like they have changed my life, and this is absolutely one. This made me reflect on so many things, it gave me loads to think about and it deli 📖 New review. [Pr product] Thank you so much to @bluebird for sending me this proof of @poornabell upcoming book Stronger, out on 29th April. My god, I don’t have enough praise for this. The emotions and thoughts I went through while reading this are priceless, and I feel like I already owe the author a lot. I genuinely have only read few books that feel like they have changed my life, and this is absolutely one. This made me reflect on so many things, it gave me loads to think about and it delivered me a truck load of positivity, motivation and inspirations. I felt like reading this I knew the author on a personal level, the writing is just fantastic and seems so effortlessly warm, incredibly informative, fully engaging all the way through and just so life affirming also. I love how after reading this I feel more powerful already, I feel better informed and better equipped to make positive changes in my life and it’s given me just so much to think about in regards of exercise and my body. And for that I feel so emotional, and beyond thankful. I feel like this has helped me so much in re framing my thoughts, and it’s such a positive and therefore powerful too. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it was like an intense but wonderfully enriching therapy session, mixed with a sit down deep conversation with a good friend. It will make you re think many things and it will give you that boost of confidence that maybe you’ve struggled to find. I feel like this is such a game changer for me and I’m so thankful to have read this. And I know it will resonate and connect with SO many, this is such a beautiful and brilliant book. I instantly went and ordered this authors other 2 books because I just loved her writing so much, it has such a warmth to it and such a friendly tone. But also just so insightful, interesting and it had me laughing, smiling deeply and feeling so much all the way through. An absolute 5 ⭐️ for me. Thank you so much @poornabell , sincerely.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Naza

    Poorna is a powerlifter, she is now able to lift twice her bodyweight! I have followed her online for quite a long time: after losing her husband, Poorna found her confidence again by turning to powerlifting. Society, family, external stereotypes and factors make women scared to be ‘strong’. As many survey suggest, many women still don’t go to the gym and/or exercise because they are self-conscious or scared not to be good enough. Poorna brilliantly analyses the relationship between mental and phys Poorna is a powerlifter, she is now able to lift twice her bodyweight! I have followed her online for quite a long time: after losing her husband, Poorna found her confidence again by turning to powerlifting. Society, family, external stereotypes and factors make women scared to be ‘strong’. As many survey suggest, many women still don’t go to the gym and/or exercise because they are self-conscious or scared not to be good enough. Poorna brilliantly analyses the relationship between mental and physical strength, by telling her own story, especially as a Brown woman with and Indian heritage, but also reporting the experiences of other women. I truly enjoyed the book and I recommend it to everyone. Lifting weights has made me feel better, but I also have had comments like ‘it will make you big and bulky’ or ‘it is not feminine enough’. Whatever sport or type of exercise you enjoy ladies, it will make you feel better. It is time to smash the stereotypes and appreciate your body as a temple. Exercise has helped me through loss, pain and lack of confidence.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gem ~ Bee

    Well researched, with a combination of survey results and personal experiences of the author,this book addresses all of the factors to womxn's physical "strength". Looking at weight/power lifting, gyms, swimming, marathons, yoga and every form of exercise and how womxn participate and the relationship between females and strength. I admire Poorna Bell from her appearances on several podcasts to her previous books and social media posts. I've been a member of the See My Strong Instagram page sinc Well researched, with a combination of survey results and personal experiences of the author,this book addresses all of the factors to womxn's physical "strength". Looking at weight/power lifting, gyms, swimming, marathons, yoga and every form of exercise and how womxn participate and the relationship between females and strength. I admire Poorna Bell from her appearances on several podcasts to her previous books and social media posts. I've been a member of the See My Strong Instagram page since its inception and thoroughly enjoy the content that encourages and promotes womxn to find their strength and pursue weight training and other forms of strength building but from a foundation of body positivity. I found it a really inspiring read and one that, rather than being preachy or confrontational, just discussed openly the author's experiences of fitness, wellness and also presenting the opinions & experiences of others.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Schöllkopf

    This book is extraordinary. I have to admit I'm not into non-fiction books but "Stronger" is different from all the books out there. The book starts off with personal information about Poorna Bell and I immediately felt connected to the author in a way I didn't think possible. I was scared about reading this book because I struggle with my body and I love working out ... But I didn't want to read another book on how to lose weight. There is NONE of that in this book. This book doesn't drag you down b This book is extraordinary. I have to admit I'm not into non-fiction books but "Stronger" is different from all the books out there. The book starts off with personal information about Poorna Bell and I immediately felt connected to the author in a way I didn't think possible. I was scared about reading this book because I struggle with my body and I love working out ... But I didn't want to read another book on how to lose weight. There is NONE of that in this book. This book doesn't drag you down but lift you up. You can be strong, you can feel strong without feeling the pressure to lose weight or criticizing your own body constantly. I can't wait for another book by this author because it is fair to say that this book has changed my point of view. Thank you, Poorna Bell.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brunet

    This is an excellent book for all readers, and is much more than a motivational fitness guide. This book explores intersectionality and accessibility in the fitness industry, fat phobic social conditioning as well as traditional boundaries to movement. Poorna Bell discusses the correlation between mental health and fitness whilst highlighting the danger of conflating the two as a convenient catch all. Every point she makes is well rounded and considered and backed up with experience and stories This is an excellent book for all readers, and is much more than a motivational fitness guide. This book explores intersectionality and accessibility in the fitness industry, fat phobic social conditioning as well as traditional boundaries to movement. Poorna Bell discusses the correlation between mental health and fitness whilst highlighting the danger of conflating the two as a convenient catch all. Every point she makes is well rounded and considered and backed up with experience and stories from a hugely diverse group of individuals. Poorna has clearly dedicated much time and energy to making her story as inclusive as she can, and the completed work is all the more powerful as a result. A personal story, but with space held for everybody.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dakota

    Empowering. That is the best word I can think of to describe Stronger by Poorna Bell. I loved Poorna's raw honesty throughout the book and you can tell she did extensive research to give us the cold hard facts and statistics associated with so many important subjects, especially mental health. To the girl or woman struggling to find the strength to go on, to do what you might be scared to do, I'd say pick up this book. You'll find accounts of strength, not just through Poorna's story and all tha Empowering. That is the best word I can think of to describe Stronger by Poorna Bell. I loved Poorna's raw honesty throughout the book and you can tell she did extensive research to give us the cold hard facts and statistics associated with so many important subjects, especially mental health. To the girl or woman struggling to find the strength to go on, to do what you might be scared to do, I'd say pick up this book. You'll find accounts of strength, not just through Poorna's story and all that she has endured but other strong women who strive to empower those around them.

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