Synopses & Reviews
This witty, irreverent paperback explores the legacies of 30 extraordinary women — from Frida Kahlo to Liz Taylor to Nora Ephron — who give inspiration and instruction.
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 a group of spirited rule breakers who charted their way with little regard for expectations: Amelia Earhart, Helen Gurley Brown, Carrie Fisher, 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 empathy and humor, examining the universal themes that connect us to 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.
"Give me difficult women or give me death. Karen Karbo's In Praise of Difficult Women brings us all back to life by illuminating the paths of women who refused to shut up, sit down, hold still, behave, or smile on anyone's terms but their own. A perfect manifesto as to why now is the time to get loud, unflinching, and brazen, exactly as we are." Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Misfit's Manifesto
"In 29 takes, Karen Karbo catalogs the ways in which a woman rankles: She can be independent, exacting, impatient, persistent, opinionated, angry, unaccommodating, ambitious, restless, confident, brilliant, articulate, or just plain visible." Stacy Schiff, best-selling author of Cleopatra: A Life and The Witches
"The narrative is researched and informed yet conversationally welcoming...Karbo's fondness for rule breakers and benders is clear, and she defends them through character quirks and missteps — real women lead real and flawed lives." Foreword Reviews
"Refreshingly frank, Karbo's book celebrates women who forged provocative identities and found life fulfillment despite the odds they faced. Inspiring reading about women who have shown "that it's all right to occupy our humanity." Kirkus Reviews
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.com, 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.
Cheryl Strayed (foreword) is the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling memoir Wild, the best-selling advice essay collection Tiny Beautiful Things, the novel Torch, and the collection of quotations Brave Enough. Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0, and made into an Oscar-nominated movie. Strayed's essays have been published in The Best American Essays, the New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, The Sun, Tin House, and elsewhere. Strayed is the co-host, along with Steve Almond, of the WBUR podcast Dear Sugar Radio, which originated with her popular Dear Sugar advice column on The Rumpus. She lives in Portland, Oregon.