When Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center was first published in 1984, it was welcomed and praised by feminist thinkers who wanted a new vision. Even so, individual readers frequently found the theory "unsettling" or "provocative." Today, the blueprint for feminist movement presented in the book remains as provocative and relevant as ever. Written in hooks's characteristic direct style, Feminist Theory embodies the hope that feminists can find a common language to spread the word and create a mass, global feminist movement.
On the positive side, hooks is excellent at identifying problems and courageous at putting forth potential solutions. She proposes concrete practices which align with her theoretical proclamations. Most importantly, she airs some of the perspectives which are common among poor or non-white women yet neglected by white bourgeois feminists. However, in her attempt to introduce these valuable perspectives, I think hooks ultimately reinforces the binary logic of domination she considers to be the root of oppression. By relying on a version of standpoint epistemology in which the most marginalized people have the greatest access to truth, hooks provides a rationale for the "oppression olympics" in which the "most victimized" status is coveted, even as she critiques the victim mentality within the feminist movement. The contrasts she sets up between white women and women of color sometimes ring false or just too strongly worded (for example, she states that black women are raised communally while white women are not), which seems to reinforce barriers between women rather than breaking them down. Furthermore, she seems to neglect other axes of oppression beyond gender, race, and class. She does not talk at all about disability, immigration status, or trans/non-binary gender identity. Her discussion of LGB individuals is either in the service of making points about heterosexuality, trite, hetero-splaining, or non-existent (e.g. heterosexuality is not per se oppression any more than lesbianism is per se liberation, separatism is undesirable, lesbians should make sure there are men involved in their kids lives, etc). Lastly, she seems to be holding out for a utopian world in which there is no domination, which seems impossible if perhaps desirable as an ideal.
Despite my reservations, this book is definitely worth a read. It clarifies much of the logic behind contemporary feminist thinking, and reading it will help you understand where hooks's thinking has become hegemonic within the movement vs. where it has not gained such currency. It's also integral to the history of feminist theory.