Finished reading book number 10 in January – Brazen by Penelope Bagieu. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! It’s like a graphic novel, with the cutest artwork, but badass stories about ‘rebel ladies who rocked the world’.
I almost teared up at the first story about Clementine Delait, a French woman who used to rock a full-blown beard and ran a Cafe called ‘The Bearded Lady’s Cafe’. She lived a rich & rather successful life. It’s a story about embracing yourself with all your oddities and displays perfectly how the world would celebrate your ‘quirks’, if you do it first. Since the book only has cartoon panels, I looked up Delait online and here’s what she looked like –
Picture source – https://wellcomeimages.org
‘Brazen’ is filled with such stories of women, some of who aren’t celebrated enough, who we might have never heard of before, but who really changed the world for women around them. Their lives are given a dash of magic in the colorful and playful panels drawn & narrated by Penelope Bagieu. She has chosen a very eclectic mix of women, you have political activists, rulers, rappers, athletes, artists, journalists, volacanologists… the list goes on.
Which brings me to one story that gave me the chills – that of Katia Krafft, America’s first woman volcanologist, who died while filming a volcanic eruption. Katia & her husband had been researching eruptions for over two decades, always being inches away from death, but Katia an interview had said “I’ve seen so many eruptions in 23 years, that if I die tomorrow, I don’t care”. That’s the kind of spirit only somebody who is living life on their own terms can have.
Pictured above is Katia and Maurice Krafft. Source – Website of the USGS
Even though ‘Brazen’ is a book about women, the stories have universal themes of courage, hard-work and the human spirit. It’s a book that I absolutely adore and will treasure. If you are looking to gift somebody a book, buy this! The diversity on display will blow your mind and the stories of their wit & grit will make you emotional. It will make you want to go back in time and give these woman a bear hug… and tell them they are ‘AWESOME’.
It’s a 5/5 for me. If I could give it a 10 on 5, I would.