#TLCBookTours Review: In Praise of Difficult Women

March 14, 2018 Uncategorized 18 ★★★★★

#TLCBookTours Review: In Praise of Difficult WomenTitle: In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons from 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules
Author: Karen Karbo
Source: TLC Book Tours

Summary: An engaging, inspiring collection where I enjoyed learning about amazing modern women and was left wanting to learn more.

This beautiful book, with its gorgeous cover, delightful illustrations, and scalloped pages, is an ode to women author Karen Karbo admires for being ‘difficult’. She defines a difficult woman as someone who believes her own desires and aspirations matter and who doesn’t let social expectations confine her. Something that made this book stand out from the many other wonderful collections about women in history is that the women were all from recent history. I don’t think any of them were born before the 1900s and quite a few are still alive today. While there is value in knowing that women have been doing awesome things since long before they were getting the credit, there was something special and inspiring about seeing these women celebrated for achievements that are so relevant today.

Something I loved about this book was the diversity of women Karbo describes. She describes women who are famous as authors, artists, and actresses and others who achieved success in science or politics. Not all of the women are from the US, fully 20% identify as LGBT+, about 20% are women of color and those three groups are not mutually exclusive. There are women who were ‘difficult’ by being loud and uncompromising. There were also women those of us who are introverts might more easily aspire to be like. These women said what they needed to say to keep the peace and then did what they wanted anyway.

I also loved the tone in which these stories were told. It was clear that these are women the author passionately admires. She was sometimes casual and often funny, but her casual tone didn’t detract from the quality of her writing. It did help sweep me up in her enthusiasm. It was inspiring seeing these women celebrated for traits that are often only praised if a man has them (ambition, passion, strong sense of self). I liked that the author finished each chapter by pointing out traits she admired about these women that others might consider bringing into their own lives.

It was also particularly wonderful seeing the author acknowledge that sometimes these women were flawed and that this doesn’t mean we can’t admire them for their strengths and their achievements. She seemed less likely to point out the flaws of people still living (Lena Dunham, JK Rowling, Hillary Clinton, etc), but perhaps that’s a reasonable kindness. That’s really my only very small complaint about this delightful book. I’ll definitely be giving this book pride of place on my shelves, revisiting it, and potentially picking up some of the other sources the author recommends for learning more about each of the awesome women she featured here.

For some other perspectives, check outΒ theΒ other stops on the tour.

18 Responses to “#TLCBookTours Review: In Praise of Difficult Women”

  1. Liz Dexter

    This sounds great, I’ve seen it mentioned a lot but yours is the first review I’ve read. Once I’m out of my self-imposed book buying ban, I’ll pick this up.

  2. iliana

    Good to hear that there’s a lot of diversity in this book and glad to hear you really enjoyed it. Will have to add this to my list!

    • DoingDewey

      I loved that too! Given that they were personal heroines of the author, I was prepared for them all to be women who were similar to her in race, sexuality, age, etc so I was pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case.

    • DoingDewey

      It’s definitely one that I’m excited about recommending to people! It was so good πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the opportunity to read and review!

  3. Naomi

    This sounds awesome. And this line from your review describes my tendencies quite well: “These women said what they needed to say to keep the peace and then did what they wanted anyway.” πŸ™‚

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