This is such a lovely read, I enjoyed it thoroughly and always looked forward to getting back to it. Schiwy has a psychoanalytic approach and an accessible writing style that bond together beautifully. She mixes techniques, encouragement, and deep thinking about why and how women can keep journals. The excerpts from various journals merge seamlessly with her own text, and I am now enjoying researching some of the journals to which she has introduced me. An appendix gives a long list of journal-writing topics, corresponding to the chapter themes, and the endnotes and bibliography are similarly extensive.
Schiwy demonstrates such respect and love for the women's journals into which she has either peeked or delved, she sidesteps the voyeuristic aspect of reading someone else's most private words. Perhaps to narrow her theme, Schiwy focuses on women's journals, but using a journal to break free of patriarchic strangleholds is not limited to women only, and I found some of the feminism to come dangerously near to male-bashing, so gents, approach with caution. Some of these journals are from famous women; some are the you and me of the secret society of diarists. Still, women's journals should not be of interest only to women, so gents, take the plunge along with us! This is both a practical and a theoretical handbook, one of the best overviews of journal writing I've had the pleasure to read.