It’s the unexpected stories that are some of the most beguiling…These are messy, inspiring lives lived in public by necessity or choice. They often offer great humor too.” –San Francisco Chronicle
"I think that this is a book that everyone should read and one that everyone should have on their shelves." - Ms. Nose in a Book
“I love the idea of grabbing a cuppa, this book, and just diving right in. It’s such a great pick-me-up. Reading about these awesome women, their struggles, their successes, and how inspiring they are - just puts a smile on my face. They are awe-inspiring stories that I gobbled up with joy.
“This book is a total inspiration for those that want to shake things up a little bit and push boundaries further for women…All I can say is I now have a very long list of biographies and memoirs on and by the woman that appear in this book.” –abookishaffair.blogspot.com
“An engaging, inspiring collection where I enjoyed learning about amazing modern women and was left wanting to learn more.” –doingdeweydecimal.com
“The author chose a great selection of women to represent the "difficult" woman.”
“Karbo has a knack for the nuances and sidebars that leave the reader not just a carrier of new facts, but of fascination and admiration for her subjects.” –The Register-Guard
"This book is a history lesson that goes down like cotton candy: pink, sweet, and fun as hell. Don’t miss it." —NextTribe
“With occasional anecdotes from her own life, Karbo delves into her personal relationship with each of these women…all of them important touchstones for her.” –LA Review of Books
“In Praise of Difficult Women” is a collection of short biographies of well-known women who are difficult in what Karbo thinks is the best sense — strong, independent, smart, assertive."
—The Seattle Times
“Karbo, of Portland, Oregon, is embracing being a “difficult woman” in her newest book, which celebrates other women who broke the rules.” –Wisconsin State Journal, AP News
“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
"The women chosen are eclectic, while 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
In Praise of Difficult Women offers many words of wisdom, including sage advice from fashion titan Diana Vreeland, who noted that the only right life to live is “the one you know you want, and you make it for yourself.” —Women's Voices ForeSight
“Karbo examines the universal themes that connect each of us to these icons of female badassery and argues that being “difficult” can lead to a more fulfilling life.” –BookRiot
“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, best-selling author of Cleopatra: A Life and 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, best-selling author of The Unspeakable
“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
“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, New York Times best-selling author of Marry Him
Karbo (Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life, 2013, etc.) sketches the lives of 29 extraordinary women.The author defines "difficult" women as those who believe their "needs, passions, and goals are at least as important as those of everyone around" them. In this book, Karbo creates word portraits—accompanied by drawings—of modern women who refused to let any social, cultural, or personal barriers stand in the way of their respective "mission[s]." Her subjects run the gamut from writers, artists, and performers to athletes, politicians, and media executives and include luminaries such as J.K. Rowling, Josephine Baker, Billie Jean King, Helen Gurley Brown, and Hillary Clinton. Karbo begins each portrait with one word that helps describe the woman: Rowling is "feisty," Baker "gutsy," King "competitive," Brown "relentless," and Clinton "ambitious." She then highlights those parts of her subjects' lives that have earned them reputations as "difficult." Despite monumental success as a novelist, Rowling refused to allow herself to be "imprisoned by her role as creator of one of the most beloved fictional universes in literary history." Dancer Baker dared to shake "body parts no one knew you could shake" up until four days before her death at age 68. King, who beat fellow tennis player Bobby Riggs in a 1973 "battle of the sexes" tennis match, fought tirelessly for "equal pay, equal treatment [and] equal respect" for women athletes. For more than 50 years, Brown advocated that women should not only enjoy the glamorous life, but also become sex objects, the better to enjoy the sexual freedom. Clinton kept moving forward toward lofty goals like the presidency despite the sexual and political scandals that rocked her husband's administration. 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."
Karbo (The Gospel According to Coco Chanel) has created a compilation of intelligent, independent, and notable women in her latest work. The author excels at bringing interesting stories and facts from well-known women to life, while also shining a spotlight on lesser-known figures who have dedicated their lives to progress. From Martha Gellhorn's daring reporting on the front lines during World War II to the rags-to-riches journey of author and Cosmopolitan editor in chief Helen Gurley Brown, this collection will delight and entertain a variety of readers. The foreword, written by Cheryl Strayed (Wild), helps set a tone that is both thoughtful and fun. Karbo delves into hardships faced and overcome, in part by the women's difficult nature; a word she uses as a compliment throughout. The 29 women featured include J.K. Rowling, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Amelia Earhart, Laverne Cox, Josephine Baker, and Hillary Clinton. VERDICT A lively and informative work that would be a valuable addition to all library collections. The variety of women and careers featured here will also appeal to YA readers.—Mattie Cook, Lake Odessa Comm. Lib., MI