The Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

Posted July 16, 2019 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

The Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik

Digital Audiobook narrated by Andi Arndt

Published by Dey Street Books on October 27, 2015
Genres: Biography, Feminism, History, Non-Fiction, Politics
Length: 240 pages or 5 hours, 9 minutes
Source: Libby

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You can't spell truth without Ruth.Only Ruth Bader Ginsburg can judge me.The Ruth will set you free.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame she was just trying to make the world a little better and a little freer. But along the way, the feminist pioneer's searing dissents and steely strength have inspired millions. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, created by the young lawyer who began the Internet sensation and an award-winning journalist, takes you behind the myth for an intimate, irreverent look at the justice's life and work. As America struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stays fierce. And if you don't know, now you know.

I think it’s important to know about the people who are trying to change the world for the better.

I’l confess that I became aware of RBG around the time of the 2008 campaigns and I am (always have been) woefully disconnected from politics.  I was raised fiercely Republican and Ruth Bader Ginsberg was not exactly a household name for my parents.  Saying the name “Bill Clinton” was akin to dropping an f-bomb in my house, so you can imagine my family wasn’t crazy about his Supreme Court nominees, either.

If you’re read my blog, you can probably surmise that as I’ve become an independent agent and educated myself, my views have shifted.  These days, I wish my younger self had been more aware of women like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, because she’s exactly the type of person I idolize now.

This book is a series of glimpses.  While I prefer most my biographies to be chronological (for my brain organization) I appreciated the anecdotes and stories about RBG’s life and career scattered throughout The Notorious RBG.  The book starts near the beginning, with a young Ruth just wanting to make her mother proud.  This novel does a good job of painting RBG as a person – while Kate McKinnon’s RBG on Saturday Night Live is one of my favorite impressions, it’s clear early in the book that she’s a more timid person.  Fierce, but not outgoing.  For some reason, I think I like her all the more for that?  It shows that you don’t need to be proud to fight for your beliefs.

There’s a lot of little gems scattered throughout The Notorious RBG.  I liked that there was a storyline about her marriage and husband, who was always supportive and apparently an amazing cook.  I liked the discussion about her Supreme Court cases, but also her relationships with the other judges… but on and off the bench.

As far as a biography goes, I really enjoyed The Notorious RBG for entertainment and interest value, but unlike many other biographies and autobiographies, I never felt like I was getting a full picture.  Just as I was settling in to hear about her time teaching, we were suddenly in 2006, learning about what it was like for her after Justice O’Connor stepped down.  And a moment later we were back in law school.  It was jumbled enough that even though the bits were interesting, it all felt like more of a taste than an actual story.

If you’re interested in the story of a true feminist, or simply want to hear a little more about a true icon in American history, The Notorious RBG is a great place to start.  RBG lights up these pages with her hope and persistence in the human spirit.  I can’t imagine a world without her sitting on the Supreme Court, and I hope I don’t have to anytime soon (P.S. she can do 20 push ups at a time, which I definitely cannot do).

The Breakdown
Personal Enjoyment
Overall: four-stars

Are there any living history icons you idolize?  There are a few other biographies of women still alive today who I would like to better resemble – tell me about your favorite humans in the comments!

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