Informational Note: This is a book I am reviewing as I was given access to a review copy by the book’s publisher.
Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls 2 feels like a book I should enjoy more than I do…although I admit that’s quite possibly due to some personal taste issues. On one hand the intention behind the book – to act as inspirational fairly tale styled biographies of notable women some of whom are well known to the general public and some of whom are not particularly famous outside of their respective home countries – is genuinely quite sweet and I hope that this book does inspire young women in the way the writers intend.
On the other however…it feels like the book wants to have it both ways. Occasionally while listening I did notice that the lives of those stories whom I was aware, had certain parts of their life sugarcoated so that the listener only heard the good parts or had their stories told in such a way as to make it sound like the women did everything on their own – even when they had help and said help is discussed it is often mentioned somewhat offhandedly – or that everything important was done by them.
Don’t get me wrong! A lot of the women mentioned are genuinely worth finding out about and I’m glad to either learn about them or to be reminded about them. Some examples include Mary Seacole–the famous nurse who ran ‘The British Hotel’ during the Crimean War – or Alice Ball – the Hawaiian chemist who helped discover and develop the cure for leprosy.
However a small group of the women seemed to only be included because they are somehow famous rather than for achievements that only they had. For example Beyoncé is included – with specific reference to the American Super Bowl performance – presumably only because of said performance when I’m sure there were plenty of famous female singers who could have been included who have achieved just as much as she has.
But I admit that the book itself is well presented. The narration definitely matches the fairytale tone the writers are seemingly aiming for and the fact that there are multiple narrators makes it easier to match the voice of the narrator with a geographic or vocal match for the woman being discussed.
Even as I write this I feel like I’m being harsher than the book deserves. The intention to inspire the modern generation of young women is very noble and I genuinely hope the book succeeds. I feel like my problem with the book is more with its tone or the way it delivers its biographies than the book itself. This is simply one of those books that has to be judged on a person by person or listener by listener basis. I do hope that people give it a chance since I feel it deserves it. But I’m afraid I can’t be as positive as I would like to be.