The Book of Awesome Women Review: Caroline Nuhn
With March being National Women’s Month, many bookworms are picking up, discovering, or revisiting their favorite books in the world of women’s writing. A stellar example of women’s writing is The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson– it is the perfect read to celebrate Women’s History Month.
The Book of Awesome Women is a nonfiction and biographical novel that describes and outlines the lives of 200 extraordinary women. The book shows the triumphs and struggles of 200 women. From athletes to Nobel Peace Prize winners, these women are from all different walks of life and are given a place in this book. It’s written to help share the story of those who have been silenced, unaccredited, or unacknowledged.
Each chapter of the book is titled with a humorous sentence or phrase that previews what that chapter will follow with titles like, “Leveling the Playing Field” for a chapter about female athletes, or “She Blinded Them With Science” for a chapter about female scientists, these chapters cater to young girls and women in general who long for role models in their specific fields. These lighthearted chapter titles were not reflective of the tone of each chapter; Anderson wrote of the origins of women in these fields, how they’ve come to be accepted and some issues they may have faced. In the chapter dedicated to female athletics, Anderson writes about the first documented female Olympian. A Greek warrior queen, Boeotia, who was known as one of the first women to break grounds surrounding the stigma and limitation within athletics. Women have been unacknowledged and silenced for centuries, and the fact that this is many reader’s first time reading of her is proof of this. There are countless references or examples of male greek heroes in history and pop culture however, Hercules, Achilles, and Zeus being a few.
Additionally, Anderson introduces “Still She Rises: Awesome Woman of Color.” This chapter follows women who faced not only gender based biases, but racially based ones as well. The comparison of struggles is a somewhat biased area as some would argue that “struggle is struggle” however these women faced issues and obstacles that white women did not. One in particular, outlined in this chapter, was Sojourner Truth. Truth was a traveling preacher after she was legally freed from slavery in 1826. This inspiring woman spoke out about “brotherly love and tolerance” during the beginning of her time as a preacher and developed her sermon after learning about abolitionism and feminism to further fit these aspects of rebellion. She was one of the first women of color whose story was told and retold across the country. Truth eventually lived to watch her dreams become realities as she saw the abolotion of slavery.
Continuing to further chapters, Anderson writes later of women who defied and fought against sexism in the country. She titles this chapter “They Resisted, They Persisted, They Are Awesome.” Anderson describes the women who paved the way for not only other activists hoping for gender equality but women in every league who want equality. Some women outlined in this chapter include Belva Ann Lockwood, Sorjini Chattopadhyay Naidu, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Lockwood being the first woman on the bar of the Supreme Court, Naidu an Indian poet and politician, and Roosevelt known as one of the most influential women in history and first lady to President Franklin Roosevelt.
This book is not only an interesting and inspiring read, but it also gives readers a place to find inspiration women that they may never have heard of before.It gives the women the recognition they deserved and allows readers to be given incredible women to research and learn about. This book is not only beneficial to adult women, but teens and children as well. The knowledge of these women allows children and teens to see them and think of what they themselves can do. It gives young women the chance to learn about female icons that schools sometimes rarely mention.
This book is unique one because of the sheer volume of it. I had never heard of most of the women. It made me realize that there were so many women out there that had changed the world in their own way, some ways small and others incredibly large, whose histories I simply hadn’t been taught. While learning of male historical figures is important, there is also a need for female ones as well. How can we, as a society, neglect the minds of these young women who have few or no female role models presented to them? We should be feeding them the knowledge of these women, letting it nurture their minds and create scientists, artists, athletes, and all together geniuses. This book is an important place to start.