Amazing Women: Inspirational Stories by Charles Margerison
|Amazing Women: Inspirational Stories by Charles Margerison|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: A clutch of short and punchy biographical stories all about influential women from the past. Most of the well-known names are featured, alongside some less-known ones|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 220||Date: June 2010|
|Publisher: Amazing People Club|
The cover of this book tells the reader that these short bioviews or biographies can be read in 10 mins or so. This is one of a series within The Amazing People Club courtesy of the Amazing People Team. There is a rather fulsome Author's Note followed by a one-page introduction. I was immediately struck by the fact that, given the various feats of these women, I was anxious to read about them - and not about Dr Margerison. Less is more. He goes on to say (by now I'm getting a bit tired of the smiling Margerison) that The stories are inspirational and can help you achieve your ambitions in your own journey through life. All of this and especially that last sentence sits rather uneasily with me, I'm afraid.
The book opens with Nancy Astor, one of the better-known names, I should imagine. Then there's Coco Chanel, Marie Curie (the only woman to have won two Nobel Prizes), Mother Teresa and others of that ilk. What did work for me was the fact that all these stories are in the first person, almost as if they were giving an interview. It worked because it gives a nice, personal angle and it serves to draw the reader right into the centre of that person's life. I also liked the style and the presentation on the page. Very easy to read, but then, that's the whole point. And I'm all for that. The reader is not ploughing through large sections of researched material. These stories are so short, in fact, that they may leave some readers panting for more.
Let me give a few examples of the information that I particularly found interesting, or had not heard or read before. Coco Chanel (not her real name apparently) who believed that Being born poor does not mean you have to stay poor. I found it also pretty impressive that her famous creation - the little black dress, circa 1926 is still going strong and loved by millions of women almost a century later. We usually abbreviate it to the LBD. And I also read that it was dreadful illness within her own family which propelled Marie Curie into her famous medical research. A few women have longer stories, such as Sally Hemings and Harriet Tubman. Both interestingly, were slaves. Augusta Ada Lovelace starts her bioview (I really do not like that term) with the conversation-stopper, My father was Lord Byron, the celebrated poet, however, I did not know him ...
Each of the women has a black-and-white pencil-type illustration, usually head and shoulders. Personally, to lift the book a little out of its somewhat homespun feel, proper colour photographs would have been welcome. Margerison has decided to divide each woman's story into two parts: the 'interview' and her recognition on the world stage. The latter part is right at the end of the book, almost like an afterthought. Much easier for the reader would be for all of this information to be as one. I found that I was constantly flicking back and forth and losing the place (and yes, the plot).
Not wishing to detract at all from the terrific importance - and eminence - of these women, from various countries and various backgrounds, the book did not have particular appeal for me. It didn't do the women justice, in my opinion. Too simplistic. But I acknowledge that this dip-in style will appeal to some readers.
For another influential woman, try Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer.
You can read more book reviews or buy Amazing Women: Inspirational Stories by Charles Margerison at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Amazing Women: Inspirational Stories by Charles Margerison at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.