Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath
Published by Dey Street Books on October 25th 2016
Genres: Biography, Feminism, Historical, History, Humor, Non-Fiction
Length: 384 pages Source: Amazon
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Blending the iconoclastic feminism of The Notorious RBG and the confident irreverence of Go the F**ck to Sleep, a brazen and empowering illustrated collection that celebrates inspirational badass women throughout history, based on the popular Tumblr blog.
Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved . . .
Illustrated in a contemporary animation style, Rejected Princesses turns the ubiquitous "pretty pink princess" stereotype portrayed in movies, and on endless toys, books, and tutus on its head, paying homage instead to an awesome collection of strong, fierce, and yes, sometimes weird, women: warrior queens, soldiers, villains, spies, revolutionaries, and more who refused to behave and meekly accept their place.
An entertaining mix of biography, imagery, and humor written in a fresh, young, and riotous voice, this thoroughly researched exploration salutes these awesome women drawn from both historical and fantastical realms, including real life, literature, mythology, and folklore. Each profile features an eye-catching image of both heroic and villainous women in command from across history and around the world, from a princess-cum-pirate in fifth century Denmark, to a rebel preacher in 1630s Boston, to a bloodthirsty Hungarian countess, and a former prostitute who commanded a fleet of more than 70,000 men on China’s seas.
I finally finished this book and I wish I had more.
I’ve been slowly making my way through this book all year and I want everyone who reads this review to know: it’s not because of the book. I struggle through essays and short story collections. This isn’t because they are horrible. It’s because they’re missing a consistent plot line. As far as short stories go? Rejected Princesses is awesome.
I want to throw a little love at Jason Porath.
Jason Porath is, in his own words, “A straight white dude from Kentucky.” He’s not a likely candidate to be writing books of female-driven histories. This isn’t a collection of twenty women who are often overlooked in history. Rejected Princesses outlines dozens of badass women. He dissects mythologies and biased biographies of women and offers the reader a perspective sharing views from multiple sources. He writes in a witty, engaging matter. Even the women with the most vile reputations are offered with a grain of salt. Elizabeth Bathory I’m talking to you. Seriously guys, he’s even got Elizabeth Bathory in here. Granted, she’s at the end, with the particularly twisted stories, but she’s there!
I have been promoting this book since I started it. Between the detail of the artwork to the depth at which Porath researches the woman, this is really a must read. And he’s made it really user-friendly. There are trigger warning for abuse, rape, and violence at the beginning of every chapter so you can avoid the triggers. Stories are rated from G-R, just like movies, so you know which ones are suitable for children. In most of the entries, he even explains the artwork and the subtle nuances he’s included.
There are so many incredible women in these pages.
While there were definitely plenty I recognized (Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Bathory, Joan of Arc), the majority of this book was made up of women I’ve never heard of. Like Noor Inayat Kahn. She was this incredible double-agent spy during World War II. She was Muslim, an author, and there’s a bronze bust of her in London. She worked with some of the earliest wireless radios. She was executed at a concentration camp. Women like Noor are role models, the women too outlandish to be translated into a Disney film, but far too incredible to be forgotten.
For those who are excited about collections such as Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli… I implore you to give Rejected Princesses a try. It’s inspiring. I want to write a modernized tale for each and every woman in this book.
Who is your favorite kick-ass woman in history?
Do you know who Elizabeth Bathory is?
How quickly do you read short story collections?