By Emily Park
A year ago, I rediscovered my love for books. Since then, I have devoured over 20,000 pages of memoirs, fantasies, contemporary fictions and romances, and historical fictions.
Last month, I decided I would turn my reading obsession into something tangible. So, I started sharing some of the Badass Babes I’ve met between the pages.
In the first installment of Badass Literary Babes, I started with the very first two characters I met when I started reading again. I thought I would continue along this timeline, but my hunger has only grown in the last month.
I finish an average of two books a week, and I have a to-be-read list of over 320 books. If I continue going down the line in order of the books I have read, I don’t think I will ever catch up, and I’m scared I’ll forget just how badass these babes are. So, I’m going to switch it up and share Badass Babes from an older favorite and a recent favorite read.
Memoir: Know My Name, by Chanel Miller
Incredibly powerful, this memoir is written by Chanel Miller, the woman Stanford student Brock Turner sexually assaulted after a campus party in 2015.
In this book, Chanel bravely claims her story and identity, opening the reader’s eyes into exactly what a woman goes through after the trauma of a sexual assault. With her story comes the stark reminder that behind every individual who’s experienced sexual assault, there is a real person who’s mental health, relationships, career, and life have been forever changed.
This book made me cry, while also evoking a powerful hope for a world where people who have experienced sexual assault can shout their story from the rooftops and be heard, be believed, and get the justice they deserve. Chanel didn’t get the justice she deserved, but she became the author of her own story, and opened the door for others in her shoes.
Please check trigger warnings on StoryGraph before reading this book, but if you decide you can handle it, this book will leave you in awe of the woman who is Chanel Miller.
Buy the book here, or check it out from your local library. Personally, I found the audiobook version of this incredibly powerful, as the audiobook is read by Chanel Miller herself.
Historical Fiction: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was one of my favorite reads of all time, and definitely the best read I had in the month of June. Having never read any of Reid’s books, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I chose this book as my Audible pick for the month. To be honest, a story about an A-List Hollywood actress didn’t really seem like my cup of tea. But after seeing it all over BookTok, I decided to give the book a chance. And I am so glad I did.
On the surface, this book seems like a fictionalized tell-all story of a Hollywood actress who made it through her career leaving behind a trail of seven husbands. Hidden from view is a badass babe who experiences the nuances of misogny, domestic abuse, racism, forbidden love, bisexuality, homosexuality, and more in the unforgiving environment of 1950s and onward Hollywood.
Does Evelyn Hugo make mistakes? Absolutely. Is her character sometimes unlikeable? Also, yes. But she owns those mistakes and portrays the life lessons those mistakes taught her. I won’t say more, because I don’t want to ruin the story, but Evelyn Hugo is absolutely worth a read.
Reid’s other leading lady, Monique, is the badass babe Evelyn Hugo tells her story to. A journalist early in career, and relatively unknown, Monique doesn’t yield when it comes to Evelyn. She makes her own boundaries, gives off that take-no-shit energy, and asks unwavering questions.
This book does contain triggers, and you can check out those warnings on StoryGraph.
Buy the book here, or check it out from your local library.
Up Next In Badass Literary Babes:
- A Court of Thorns and Roses series, By Sarah J Maas
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, by Austin Channing Brown
Emily Park is a Kansas City-based journalist, passionate about giving a voice to those who don’t always have one. From news to features to business-to-business reporting, she’s done it all. (Features are her favorite though.) In her free time you can find Emily playing games, reading, streaming, or hanging out with her furry babies, Sutton the dog and Salem the cat.