In Praise of Difficult Women – Life Lessons from 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules (National Geographic Books)
Hard to believe in 2017 many women still have to choose between being true to themselves, or being accepted and loved. Meet 29 women who refused to choose.
In Praise of Difficult Women – Life Lessons from 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules by bestselling author Karen Karbo (The Gospel According to Coco Chanel), delivers a smart, sassy, sometimes disturbing collection of essays that delves into the “difficult,” often surprising and delightful traits of twenty-nine women in politics, the arts, and media who’ve inspired Karen and many of us by living life on their own terms. With a foreword by Cheryl Strayed, the book includes inspired views on Frida Kahlo, Nora Ephron, Hillary Clinton, Carrie Fisher, Shonda Rhimes, Elizabeth Taylor, Helen Gurley Brown, J. K. Rowling, Edie Sedgwick, Laverne Cox, Lena Dunham, among others -- all spirited rule breakers who charted their way with little regard for social or cultural expectations. Their histories are provocative lessons to live by, and through Karbo’s witty prose and perceptive insights, we examine the universal themes that connect us to each of these mesmerizing heroines: success and style, daring and courage, authenticity and love.
These difficult women give us permission to occupy space in our worlds, to say what we think, and to stand our ground. They give us permission to be ambitious, passionate, curmudgeonly, outspoken, persistent, sassy, and angry. They tell us, by their words and deeds, that it’s all right to occupy our humanity.
Praise for In Praise of Difficult Women
“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. Nothing is lost on Karbo, from Elizabeth Taylor’s double eyelashes to the contents of Martha Gellhorn’s travel bag to Amelia Earhart’s homemade roller coaster. You’ll need two copies!”— Stacy Schiff, bestselling author of The Witches
“Part biography, part inspiration, all parts fascinating, In Praise of Difficult Women is a wise and hilarious reminder of the importance of being a pain in the ass. Keep it by your bedside.”— Meghan Daum, bestselling author of The Unspeakable
“Difficult seems absolutely delightful in these absorbing, inspiring, and often surprising portraits that do more than entertain. They raise important questions about femininity and culture, power and bravery -- and make us ask these same questions about our mothers, sisters, daughters, and ourselves. Though Karbo masterfully covers a wide range of exceptional women, what unites them is the way they make "difficult" become a quality not to avoid but to aspire to with gusto.”— Lori Gottlieb, bestselling author of Marry Him
“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
Karen Karbo is the author of multiple award-winning novels, memoirs, and works of nonfiction. Her “Kick-Ass Women” series includes Julia Child Rules (2013), How Georgia Became O’Keeffe (2011), and the international bestseller The Gospel According to Coco Chanel (2009). Her work has appeared in Elle, Vogue, Esquire, Outside, the New York Times, Salon, and other magazines. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she continues to kick ass being the Difficult Woman she is.
Dinah Lenney wrote The Object Parade and Bigger than Life: A Murder, a Memoir and co-edited Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction. She serves as an editor-at-large for the Los Angeles Review of Books, as well as on the faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars MFA program, and she’s currently working on a book for Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series. A working actor, Dinah most recently kicked ass as Franny- the (difficult)-building- inspector on Showtime’s Shameless. (Typecasting, of course.)