Notorious RBG x2
by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
2015 / 240 pages
read by Andi Arndt 5h 9m
(read and listened!)
Imo, this book is not geared toward regular readers of serious political biographies. This is for young adults (I’d say ages 16 to 35) who rarely, if ever, read political biographies – they probably avoid them. Still – the authors are in that age group and they want their peers to know about RBG and support her. They want Susie Sorority and Peter Preppie to read this. In order to grab that audience a whole different approach is required – make RBG into a very cool person and a political icon of the times – use blogger style, lots of photos, cartoons, slogans, etc. while still transmitting the info necessary to basically understand where RBG is coming from and what she’s about.
But my first instinct was … “Huh? What the heck? – Who is this Notorious B.I.G. and why are the authors messing up the “illustrious” (my word) RBG with him?” I’d barely heard of him – certainly not a fan – I only listened to something via YouTube because of this book.
There is a lot more substance than the eye-candy would indicate – the author of the narrative is a Harvard grad and political commentator – she knew what she was doing. The co-author, Shana, who is also a millennial, developed the original blog and worked on the graphics and design as well as interviews and fact-checking. These two knew how to get info to the “#millennials.” I totally applaud the effort and the results. Ginsburg deserves the hero-ization.
If you want a long, detailed, well researched, heavily referenced, and probably dry accounting of RBG’s life, times and legacy, then I’d suggest you get Scott Dodson’s The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jan. 2015) which has got very limited but generally good reviews – (published by Cambridge Uni Press so it’s probably academic stuff). I enjoy the Ron Chernow/Doris Kearns Goodwin type of biography, but I’ll more likely wait for someone to do something between academic and rap/blog-bio. (heh)
Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a truly remarkable woman and this book is a tribute to her in ways which will get noticed by young women and others who really don’t want to wade through a long, dry, blow-by-blow biography. She deserves both kinds of notice.
As is getting more usual, I listened to this book a couple months ago out of pure-d interest and now when it comes up for discussion with the All-nonfiction group I downloaded the Kindle version to read along. It is good but … if you’re looking for a “serious” biography you might want to check out Scott Dodson’s The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2015) which has got very good reviews.
Re the Voting Rights Bill rewrite – RBG said it’s like, “…throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” Kindle Location 207). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.