A to Z Book Review: In Praise of Difficult Women by Karen Karbo


I’m way behind on these, so you’ll be getting one a week until I get caught up. My letter “I” book pick was In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons From 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules by Karen Karbo.

The author profiles twenty-nine motivated, high-energy, “difficult” women who challenged boundaries, misogyny, and societal norms – often despite overwhelming odds and crippling personal demons.

From Hillary Clinton, Eva Peron and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to Shonda Rimes, Laverne Cox, Freda Kahlo, and Jane Goodall (to name a few), Karen Karbo took a large cross-section from varying ethnicities and career paths, giving us a short glimpse into each woman’s life and contributions.

I learned more than a few things about women I admired and came to admire women I’d never heard of before. Still, the book read more like a series of book reports in places. I would have loved to have spent more time getting deeper into each of these remarkable women’s motivations and insights. The chapters were relatively short and didn’t give enough expansion after the rundown of each woman’s history and accomplishments.

I do want to share a meaningful quote from the forward of this book, penned by WILD author Cheryl Strayed regarding these women:

“They said no in a world that expects women to say yes, and yes in a world that doesn’t bother to ask them the question.”

A perfect summation of life as a woman throughout history. I’m giving this one three and a half stars. Worth the read, but you’ll end up Googling, hitting up Wikipedia, and browsing biographies for more.

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