GIRLS NEED NOT APPLY: FIELD NOTES FROM THE FORCES, by Kelly S. Thompson, McClelland & Steward, Penguin Random House


This inspiring, compelling debut memoir chronicles the experiences of a female captain serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, and her journey to make space for herself in a traditionally masculine world.

At eighteen years old, Kelly Thompson enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. Despite growing up in a military family — she would, in fact, be a fourth-generation soldier — she couldn’t shake the feeling that she didn’t belong.
From the moment she arrives for basic training at a Quebec military base, a young woman more interested in writing than weaponry, she quickly realizes that her conception of what being a soldier means, forged from a desire to serve her country after the 9/11 attacks, isn’t entirely accurate. A career as a female officer will involve navigating a masculinized culture and coming to grips with her burgeoning feminism.
In this compulsively readable memoir, Thompson writes with wit and honesty about her own development as a woman and a soldier, unsparingly highlighting truths about her time in the military. In sharply crafted prose, she chronicles the frequent sexism and misogyny she encounters both in training and later in the workplace, and explores her own feelings of pride and loyalty to the Forces, and a family legacy of PTSD, all while searching for an artistic identity in a career that demands conformity. When she sustains a career-altering injury, Thompson fearlessly re-examines her identity as a soldier.
Girls Need Not Apply is a refreshingly honest story of conviction, determination, and empowerment, and a bit of a love story, too.

Out August 2019

320 Pages approx.


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

This was a striking book for me. The language and pacing was smooth and precise. At times, there was a detached feel to the story being told, but I can fully understand why. After I finished reading this book, I just sat there and looked out the window and wondered many things, for example… why?

Throughout the ages, women have had to fight tooth and nail for equality, to be treated with the same respect and consideration as any man. The evidence that the struggle is still continuing is laced between the pages of this book.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style and found the story itself intriguing and revealing. The sexual assaults made me cringe and how the author had to constantly deal with being slammed down because she’s a woman, work twice as hard to achieve what her male fellow soldiers achieved, and be treated worse because of her sex.

Because this all happened while in the Canadian Armed Forces, makes it even worse for me. I thought we raised our boys better than this.

I gave this book:



2 thoughts on “GIRLS NEED NOT APPLY: FIELD NOTES FROM THE FORCES, by Kelly S. Thompson, McClelland & Steward, Penguin Random House

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