Thursday, August 23, 2018

Brazen by Penelope Bagieu Review

Title: Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked The World
Author: Penelope Bageiu
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction/Graphic Novel
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

After I finished Down and Across, I wasn’t sure what to read next. Then I spotted Brazen sitting on top of the stack, and figured that a graphic novel would be a good palate cleanser before I moved on to my next novel. Brazen tells the story of many young women who defied the limitations of their times and openly flouted convention. Some of them I knew, and others I’d only vaguely heard of, and still more I had never heard of before. Running the gamut from dancers, art enthusiasts, rappers, activists, performers, and more, Brazen provides snappy snippets of information and combines that with gorgeous, sharp illustrations. This book was wonderful, and I will be seeking out more of Penelope Bageiu’s work as soon as I can, because I’m hooked! I was amazed and inspired, and I loved the prose and the illustrations! Absolutely amazing!

As there were so many women, I won’t be able to talk about all of them, but I’d like to highlight a few standouts. Margaret Hamilton, the woman who portrayed The Wicked Witch of the West on The Wizard of Oz, rejected from being the lead in movies because she was deemed too ugly, and who suffered terrible burns on the set of Oz. Las Mariposas, rebel sisters who worked to unseat a despot ruling over their country. Lozen, the Apache warrior and shaman who helped one of her people give birth on the battlefield. Delia Akeley, fearless explorer who saved her husband’s life on multiple occasions and went on to explore the world after her husband’s death. Agnodice, the world’s first female gynecologist, who went so far as to dress up as a man in ancient Rome in order to practice her trade. Leymah Gbowee, one of the world’s first female social workers, who went on to be an activist and integral in changing women’s rights. Wu Zeitan, China’s first and only female empress regent who ushered in one of the most prosperous periods in her country’s history. Temple Grandin, with one of the world’s first diagnosed cases of autism, animal whisperer and animal rights activist. Therese Clerc, fierce utopian activist who went on to change the whole of France and its women’s rights. Betty Davis, legendary singer and songwriter who went on to change the whole music scene in the 60s. (This one was a particular favorite for me.) Hedy Lamarr, legendary beauty, actress, and inventor. And finally, Mae Jemison, the world’s first black female astronaut. This book was hilarious, wry, beautifully illustrated, and informative, and I loved it! It was nonfiction, but it was so much fun. One of my favorite books of 2018! The bottom line: Funny, smart, snappy, and beautifully illustrated, as well as informative, I loved Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World! Next on deck: The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty!

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