Jagged Little Pill is 20 years old. Isn’t it ironic? I bought the album back in 1995, when I was 21 myself. It was like nothing I’d heard up until then. Here was a woman my age who was pissed about…everything. She was mad as hell and not going to take it, at least according to You Oughta Know.
The other songs were maybe not as in your face, but the undercurrent of anger was there, as well as frustration with not being taken seriously. There are songs about growing up and finding a place in the world. About setting boundaries. And all the overwhelming emotions a young woman has in her twenties. Listening to the album takes me right back. (“I’m young and I’m underpaid” –Hand In My Pocket, especially!)
Alanis Morissette is not the first, and not the last, young woman to feel this way. There’s quite a list of them in literature. I’ve made a list of books I’ve read that also deal with these experiences of becoming an adult woman. Some of them are angry, some just finding their way in the big, scary world. If you want to learn more about them, I’ve linked the titles to my reviews.
- The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
- Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
- The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
- The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (Bonus: Is it Atwood or Alanis? CBC Quiz)
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- The Fever by Megan Abbott
- The Story of Mary MacLane (or I Await the Devil’s Coming) by Mary MacLane
- Wayward Girls and Wicked Women: An Anthology of Subversive Stories edited by Angela Carter
- French Milk by Lucy Knisley
Blast some Jagged Little Pill, wear it out (the way a three year old would do). Choose your favorite heroine and make one of the songs her anthem.
Happy Anniversary, Jagged Little Pill!