Home improvement books really aren’t my type of books, since I’ve always lived in apartments and can’t really take it upon myself to paint and redecorate without the approval of a landlord, whom most often are scared to death when you say “Oh yes, I’m thinking about black carpeting and green walls, what do you think?” However, Norma Vally’s Chix Can Fix tempted me because the book is not only geared towards home improvement, but also to fixing household appliances without the hassle of having to call in a professional and be robbed blind. I was also curious as to how a woman would speak to other women about home repairs and improvements, especially considering that traditionally, this book would have been geared solely towards men, had the author been a man.
I do not watch television; in fact, for three years I didn’t even have basic cable channels so my television was only used when I was watching a movie, so I had no background on who Normy Vally was or what this so-called “Tool Belt Diva” thing was all about going into this book. I was especially interested in this book to see how Vally represents women who do their own home improvement and repair work and because I had never made my own home repairs, nor knew who Norma Vally was, I went into this book completely clueless and came out just as clueless as before, but more offended than anything else.
Norma Vally speaks down to her readers, a true triumph since this book can be found in several clearance bins in many different home improvement and supply shops. She goes into explicit detail and over-simplifies already clear points as if she were a man imitating how one should speak to clueless women. She attempts humor quite frequently, but instead of coming off as humorous, her wording falls nothing short of being condescending and petty.
The self-proclaimed Tool Belt Diva had the perfect opportunity to publish a positive and helpful book for women, already knowing that women would be more inclined to purchase her book, but instead makes the same mistake as most other books of any nature do when attempting to appeal to a female audience–Speaking abut fashion and making every other sentence “cutesy” will not build a solid fan base; instead, this will provoke readers to look at the author of the book in a negative light, knowing that she does not take herself seriously, never mind being able to take the plight of her readers seriously.
If you are still inclined to purchase this book, you will find step-by-step instructions on a variety of different home improvement and repairs, such as plumbing, electricity, walls, floors, doors and windows. You will also find an estimated budget for every project in the book if you are saving up or would like an estimate for a particular home repair or improvement.
Chix Can Fix did not impress me, nor did I see what I had expected; I expected a woman-friendly book that went above the stereotypical “man job” demeanor; what I got was the reinforcement that because you’re a woman, you have no right to do these types of home improvement jobs, but if you insist on doing them anyway, Norma Vally would like to think she can help–while insulting your intelligence the entire time.