This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for in terms of feminist collections. I mentioned before in my reviews for equally striking books (Bad Girls Throughout History & Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls) how I’m not keen on Wikipedia-esque entries, instead, I prefer anecdotes that bring the women back to life through words. And oh, how Julia Pierpont delivered with The Little Book of Feminist Saints.
“These entries are not meant to serve as short biographies, summaries of each woman’s life that could just as easily be found online. I tried, instead, in my daily research, to zero in on the colorful, the anecdotes I would find myself repeating to a friend that night.”
My most important thing with these collections is that I want to educated myself on something new in an engaging way, without feeling like I’m reading a textbook. And because The Little Book of Feminist Saints focused on telling witty stories that captured the spirit of each woman, there wasn’t ever a case of reading the same repeated history lesson, especially with the more well-known personalities. I got enlightened on so many phenomenal sheroes over the course of the book, and I had the most fun doing so.
This read also managed to pack many experiences into a short amount of pages. Ranging from leading ladies, philosophers, readers, dreamers, travelers, athletes, students, and rebels.
Speaking of which, here were some of the noteworthy women I was very in tune with that I’d like to highlight:
1. Oprah: Matron Saint of Every Home.“She connected with audiences because she knew people, and she let them know her.”
2. Yayoi Kusama: Matron Saint of Visionaries“The visions started in childhood—flowers would talk to her; the floor would disappear.”
3. Gloria Steinem: Matron Saint of Sisterhood“There was something,” she remarked, “about seeing women tell the truth about their lives in public, and seeing women take seriously something that only happens to women. In my experience, things were only taken seriously if they also happened to men.”
4. Maya Angelou: Matron Saint of Storytellers“In times of strife and extreme stress, I was likely to retreat to mutism. Mutism is so addictive. And I don’t think its powers ever go away.”
5. Rachel Carson: Matron Saint of Future Generations“The threat is infinitely greater to the generations unborn; to those who have no voice in the decisions of today, and that fact alone makes our responsibility a heavy one.”
6. Katharine Hepburn: Matron Saint of Leading Ladies“As one goes through life,” she wrote in her memoirs, “one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.”
7. Anne Frank: Matron Saint of Diariest8. Frida Kahlo: Matron Saint of Color
The Little Book of Feminist Saints exceeded all my expectations, thanks to both the striking illustrations by Manjit Thapp that set the tone for what to expect, and the accompanying anecdotes written to the strengths of our leading ladies.
ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: March 6th 2018