In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons From 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules

In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons From 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules

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Overview

From Frida Kahlo and Elizabeth Taylor to Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher, and Lena Dunham, this witty narrative explores what we can learn from the imperfect and extraordinary legacies of 29 iconic women who forged their own unique paths in the world.

Smart, sassy, and unapologetically feminine, this elegantly illustrated book is an ode to the bold and charismatic women of modern history. Best-selling author Karen Karbo (The Gospel According to Coco Chanel) spotlights the spirited rule breakers who charted their way with little regard for expectations: Amelia Earhart, Helen Gurley Brown, Edie Sedgwick, Hillary Clinton, Amy Poehler, and Shonda Rhimes, among others. Their lives—imperfect, elegant, messy, glorious—provide inspiration and instruction for the new age of feminism we have entered. Karbo distills these lessons with wit and humor, examining the universal themes that connect us to each of these mesmerizing personalities today: success and style, love and authenticity, daring and courage. Being "difficult," Karbo reveals, might not make life easier. But it can make it more fulfilling—whatever that means for you.

In the Reader's Guide included in the back of the book, Karbo asks thought-provoking questions about how we relate to each woman that will make for fascinating book club conversation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426217746
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Publication date: 02/27/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 153,221
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

KAREN KARBO is the author of multiple award-winning novels, memoirs and works of nonfiction. Her best-selling "Kick-Ass Women" series includes The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman, which was an international bestseller. Karbo's short stories, essays, articles and reviews have appeared in Elle, Vogue, Esquire, Outside, the New York Times, Salon, and other publications. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a winner of the General Electric Younger Writer Award. Karbo lives in Portland, Oregon, where she continues to kick ass.

Table of Contents

Foreword Cheryl Strayed 11

Introduction 15

J. K. Rowling 18

Elizabeth Taylor 24

Gloria Steinem 42

Amy Poehler 52

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 58

Josephine Baker 64

Rachel Maddow 80

Coco Chanel 86

Martha Gellhorn 96

Shonda Rhimes 106

Eva Perón 112

Helen Gurley Brown 132

Edie Sedgwick 150

Angela Merkel 158

Billie Jean King 168

Jane Goodall 176

Vita Sackville-West 188

Elizabeth Warren 198

Margaret Cho 206

Amelia Earhart 212

Frida Kahlo 226

Nora Ephron 242

Diana Vreeland 248

Kay Thompson 256

Laverne Cox 274

Hillary Rodham Clinton 280

Janis Joplin 288

Lena Dunham 308

Carrie Fisher 314

Acknowledgments 331

Sources 333

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In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons From 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
This should be required reading for all high school students, and everyone, really. It is a funny, poignant and insightful book that is long overdue. Karen Karbo deserves great credit.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
In the introduction to Karen Karbo's In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons from 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules, the author states that "a difficult woman is a woman who insists on inhabiting the full range of her humanity." This book profiles 29 women in modern history who do just that. Each chapter profiles one woman, beginning with a single word to describe them ("Fiesty" for Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, "Indefatigable" for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, "Determined" for Jane Goodall) and a vibrant illustration by Kimberly Glyder. Karbo writes a short sketch of each remarkable woman, and her opinion of what it is that makes each of them "difficult". I am familiar with all of the names in the book, but I got an deeper understanding of women whom I didn't know much about, like "imperious" French fashion designer Coco Chanel, who gets a longer chapter (perhaps because Karbo's previous book was The Gospel According to Coco Chanel). People responded to her book about Chanel by saying it seemed that Chanel didn't seem like she was a nice person. Karbo would often say that Chanel was a "complicated, stubborn, ambitious visionary who transformed the way we dress, view ourselves in clothes and walk through the world. You need her to be nice on top of everything else?" People don't usually comment on ambitious men's "niceness". "Fanatical" Eva Peron gets a longer chapter too, and for those who only know her from the Broadway musical "Evita" will appreciate maybe the most complicated woman in this book. Peron came from extreme poverty (as did Josephine Baker), and as the mistress, then wife, of Argentinian President Juan Peron, she spent much of her time giving food, money and more to the poor in her country. She and her husband also refused to listen to any dissent, punishing those who disagreed with them, shutting down newspapers, unions, and impeaching Supreme Court justices. I also found chapters on Josephine Baker, Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart, and Janis Joplin fascinating. Angela Merkel's story- a research scientist who lived under Communism in East Germany to rise up and become a unified Germany's Chancellor and now the leader of the free world- gives smart girls everywhere hope. Many of us know Kay Thompson from the Eloise children's books, but her contributions to musical comedy world are innumerable. She was a choreographer, lyricist, vocal coach (Frank Sinatra owes her much), and it was her idea to have singers sing and dance at the same time on stage, instead of just standing at a microphone singing. The word diva was made for Thompson. Perhaps the most moving anecdote that Karbo shares is a personal one. She was in First Lady Hillary Clinton's West Wing office in 2000, and she was speaking with an engaging young aide. When Karbo asked her what was the best part of working for the First Lady was, the young lady's face "opened into a grin." She makes me feel smart!" That doesn't make Clinton difficult, but it speaks volumes as to who she is. In Praise of Difficult Women is a great read for Women's History Month. You can dip into it and read a few chapters while riding the bus, waiting at the doctor's office or in your car at school pickup. You're sure to find more than one who will inspire you to be a difficult woman. And if you want further reading about these remarkable women, Karbo shares her sources at the end, with further reading on her website here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
some+to+deep++and+some+just+the+surface+...+oh+well