Books & Literature

Book Review: Ginger Pride: A Redheaded History of the World, by Tobias Anthony

Rangars rejoice! Behold the ginger glory of the redhead!  No longer a pariah, carrot-tops the world over are now ready to flaunt their MC1R mutation, starting with this comical look at the redhead.

“If you believe the rumours, gingers are hot-tempered and prone to anger – little sacks of violence just waiting to unleash their berserker rage.”

RANGAS REJOICE! Behold the ginger glory of the redhead!  No longer a pariah, carrot-tops the world over are now ready to flaunt our MC1R mutation!

Ginger Pride is a bit of fun while at the same time providing some history, including stories of famous gingers and the science behind the magic 2% of the population. The pictures that go along with these are fabulous – how to identify your gingers in the wild, through pictures and a short description, and the gorgeous ginger drawings of famous frecklefaces, both real and fictional (I especially liked that Scully from The X Files rated a mention).

Funnily enough, in between the humour, there is a lovely bit of teaching in the section titled Ginger Etiquette. There is a table with a list of things not to say to gingers and options of things to say instead, for example: “Don’t reference anything concerning the occult, witches, Satan or that rumour that redheads don’t have souls. Instead: A hug might be nice. Otherwise, asking after a redhead’s wellbeing will suffice.”

Sure, it’s hilarious, but I can also see kids and teens reading this, laughing, but also then feeling like, gee, it’s OK to be a ranga, we are part of a group and being bullied for the way we look is not on. As the book says, there is such a thing as gingerism, which is discrimination against gingers and gingerphobia, which is the fear of gingers. Really, either of these are so out of date now, as there are Facebook pages and calendars dedicated to hot gingers!

Tobias Anthony is not only a ginger but a Melbourne author who has written books including Hipster Baby Names: Really, Really Ridiculously Good Names for Your Kid and Superfans, the latter which investigates music’s most obsessive fans.  Anthony has clearly found his niche in using humour to explore what could be the strange or obscure in a truly fascinating manner so that it is celebrated. Kudos to the illustrator, Carla McRae, who also lives in Melbourne, for her entertaining illustrations that really do add to the descriptions.

As a fellow ranga, naturally I approve of anything that empowers my fellow fire-heads to feel like they ARE part of an important group and that our genetic mutation, while causing the need for massive amounts of sunscreen, is actually something that should make us proud.

Make sure you buy this book not just for your ranga mates but for any gingerphobes you know!

Reviewed by Michelle Baylis

Rating out of 10:  8

Distributed by: Smith Street Books
Released: March 2018
RRP: $24.99

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