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Let Me Be Frank: A Book About Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren't Supposed to Do

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In this entertaining and eye-opening collection, writer, actor, and feminist Tracy Dawson showcases trailblazers throughout history who disguised themselves as men and continuously broke the rules to gain access and opportunities denied them because they were women. “This book will surprise, astonish, and hopefully anger you on the lengths women have had to go to pursue the In this entertaining and eye-opening collection, writer, actor, and feminist Tracy Dawson showcases trailblazers throughout history who disguised themselves as men and continuously broke the rules to gain access and opportunities denied them because they were women. “This book will surprise, astonish, and hopefully anger you on the lengths women have had to go to pursue their dreams. Tracy has such a gift for storytelling and making history leap off the page. Her book has a wit that suggests it was written by a man since everyone knows women aren't this funny.”—Kay Cannon, writer, producer, director (Pitch Perfect, Cinderella) “A smart, funny journey through history that introduces us to the rule breakers who made history worth traveling through.”—Patton Oswalt “I came up with Tracy as a fellow sketch comedian on the vomit-soaked stages of the Toronto comedy scene. And like the brilliant, resourceful, rule-breaking, damn-well-stubborn sisters in Let Me Be Frank, Tracy is someone who gets the job done, and gets it done well.”—Samantha Bee "This spirited feminist history entertains and enlightens."—Publishers Weekly Let Me Be Frank illuminates with a wry warmth the incredible stories of a diverse group of women from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds who have defied the patriarchy, refusing to allow men or the status quo to define their lives or break their spirit. An often sardonic and thoroughly impassioned homage to female ingenuity and tenacity, the women profiled in this inspiring anthology broke the rules to reach their goals and refused to take “no” for an answer. These women took matters into their own hands, dressing—sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively—as men to do what they wanted to do. This includes competing in marathons, publishing books, escaping enslavement, practicing medicine, tunneling deep in the earth as miners, taking to the seas as pirates and serving on the frontlines in the military, among many other pursuits. Not only did these women persist, many unknowingly made history and ultimately inspired later generations in doing so. This compendium is an informative and enthralling celebration of these revolutionary badasses who have changed the world and our lives. Let Me Be Frank is filled with more than two dozen specially commissioned, full-color illustrations and hand-lettering by artist Tina Berning, whose multi-award-winning work has been published in numerous publications and anthologies worldwide, and is designed by Alex Kalman. WOMEN PROFILED INCLUDE: Jeanne Baret * Anne Bonny and Mary Read * Christian Caddell * Ellen Craft * Catalina De Erauso * Louise Augustine Gleizes * Hatshepsut * Annie Hindle and Florence Hines* Pili Hussein * Joan of Arc * Rena “Rusty” Kanokogi * Margaret King * Dorothy Lawrence * Tarpé Mills * Hannah Snell * Kathrine Switzer * Maria Toorpakai * Dr. Mary Edwards Walker * Cathay Williams


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In this entertaining and eye-opening collection, writer, actor, and feminist Tracy Dawson showcases trailblazers throughout history who disguised themselves as men and continuously broke the rules to gain access and opportunities denied them because they were women. “This book will surprise, astonish, and hopefully anger you on the lengths women have had to go to pursue the In this entertaining and eye-opening collection, writer, actor, and feminist Tracy Dawson showcases trailblazers throughout history who disguised themselves as men and continuously broke the rules to gain access and opportunities denied them because they were women. “This book will surprise, astonish, and hopefully anger you on the lengths women have had to go to pursue their dreams. Tracy has such a gift for storytelling and making history leap off the page. Her book has a wit that suggests it was written by a man since everyone knows women aren't this funny.”—Kay Cannon, writer, producer, director (Pitch Perfect, Cinderella) “A smart, funny journey through history that introduces us to the rule breakers who made history worth traveling through.”—Patton Oswalt “I came up with Tracy as a fellow sketch comedian on the vomit-soaked stages of the Toronto comedy scene. And like the brilliant, resourceful, rule-breaking, damn-well-stubborn sisters in Let Me Be Frank, Tracy is someone who gets the job done, and gets it done well.”—Samantha Bee "This spirited feminist history entertains and enlightens."—Publishers Weekly Let Me Be Frank illuminates with a wry warmth the incredible stories of a diverse group of women from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds who have defied the patriarchy, refusing to allow men or the status quo to define their lives or break their spirit. An often sardonic and thoroughly impassioned homage to female ingenuity and tenacity, the women profiled in this inspiring anthology broke the rules to reach their goals and refused to take “no” for an answer. These women took matters into their own hands, dressing—sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively—as men to do what they wanted to do. This includes competing in marathons, publishing books, escaping enslavement, practicing medicine, tunneling deep in the earth as miners, taking to the seas as pirates and serving on the frontlines in the military, among many other pursuits. Not only did these women persist, many unknowingly made history and ultimately inspired later generations in doing so. This compendium is an informative and enthralling celebration of these revolutionary badasses who have changed the world and our lives. Let Me Be Frank is filled with more than two dozen specially commissioned, full-color illustrations and hand-lettering by artist Tina Berning, whose multi-award-winning work has been published in numerous publications and anthologies worldwide, and is designed by Alex Kalman. WOMEN PROFILED INCLUDE: Jeanne Baret * Anne Bonny and Mary Read * Christian Caddell * Ellen Craft * Catalina De Erauso * Louise Augustine Gleizes * Hatshepsut * Annie Hindle and Florence Hines* Pili Hussein * Joan of Arc * Rena “Rusty” Kanokogi * Margaret King * Dorothy Lawrence * Tarpé Mills * Hannah Snell * Kathrine Switzer * Maria Toorpakai * Dr. Mary Edwards Walker * Cathay Williams

30 review for Let Me Be Frank: A Book About Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren't Supposed to Do

  1. 5 out of 5

    April O'Brien

    The idea of this book was much better than the execution.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura (Knowthybookshelf)

    2.25. The idea of this book was great, but the execution of that idea was not that great. Also, the narrator of this audiobook was so annoying

  3. 4 out of 5

    Val

    this wasn't done with enough care. this wasn't done with enough care.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alle

    Wow, american white feminist at its finest. The achievements of all those wonderful women are 5/5 stars, I'm glad I got to learn more about some of them. But the narrator? Misanthropic, unlikeable, trying to appear like a girlboss and empowering but instead coming across as an average white third wave feminist yelling about being just as oppressed as fellow women of past centuries. No, publishers don't refuse you i 2020s cuz you're a woman in possession of a vagina, they refuse you cuz your styl Wow, american white feminist at its finest. The achievements of all those wonderful women are 5/5 stars, I'm glad I got to learn more about some of them. But the narrator? Misanthropic, unlikeable, trying to appear like a girlboss and empowering but instead coming across as an average white third wave feminist yelling about being just as oppressed as fellow women of past centuries. No, publishers don't refuse you i 2020s cuz you're a woman in possession of a vagina, they refuse you cuz your style is simply irksome.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Monika Salamon-Mittelbach

    Amazing! Funny, smart, informative. One of the best books I read this year so far.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I loved everything about this. Snarky and informative- perfect combo for me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sansan Gilbreath

    This may be the best book I’ve read all year . It’s funny . It’s sincere and like the tv show Drunk History they’ve both taught me more history than I ever learned in school .

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    The stories were interesting and well researched, but the weird tone made me question who the intended audience was. All the yass queening has a very limited lifespan. It gives off something similar to "youth pastor trying to bond with teens." But the weirdest part was implying that it's somehow misogynistic for modern historians to suggest that Joan of Arc suffered from mental illness. Tracy, the girl said she heard voices; I don't know what to tell you. The stories were interesting and well researched, but the weird tone made me question who the intended audience was. All the yass queening has a very limited lifespan. It gives off something similar to "youth pastor trying to bond with teens." But the weirdest part was implying that it's somehow misogynistic for modern historians to suggest that Joan of Arc suffered from mental illness. Tracy, the girl said she heard voices; I don't know what to tell you.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    3.5 rounded up. I listened to the audiobook just for something easy and fun and was pleased with the relative minimum of annoying fake voices/accents used. Slightly more annoying were all the references to the ~queerness~ of historical women who are presumably rolling in their graves wishing they could come back to life and clock the author for referring to them by a slur. But whatever, I guess. This is not remotely an academic piece of work, so if that’s what you’re wanting don’t waste your time 3.5 rounded up. I listened to the audiobook just for something easy and fun and was pleased with the relative minimum of annoying fake voices/accents used. Slightly more annoying were all the references to the ~queerness~ of historical women who are presumably rolling in their graves wishing they could come back to life and clock the author for referring to them by a slur. But whatever, I guess. This is not remotely an academic piece of work, so if that’s what you’re wanting don’t waste your time. It is a fun little survey of some of the women throughout history who have used male disguises as a means to an end. It was a very easy read, a good jumping-off point to identify women to learn more about, and overall a fun way to spend a few hours. I could’ve done without some of the “obligatory” woke asides, and I didn’t find all of the constant little jokes and comments to add that much. It’s very similar to the tone and level of detail of “Bad Girls Throughout History,” which was also about a 3.5 for me, so do with that information what you will

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    This is a funny and easy to listen to book that hits on a lot of historical (and a few more recent) reasons why women have had to dress, act like, or otherwise pretend to be men, in order to save themselves or the ones they love. Dawson's sarcastic and drole commentary had me laughing even as the situations these women faced appalled me. This is a book to make you grateful to live in the 21st century in a liberal, tolerant country, and to remind you how hard-won the rights I have as a woman were This is a funny and easy to listen to book that hits on a lot of historical (and a few more recent) reasons why women have had to dress, act like, or otherwise pretend to be men, in order to save themselves or the ones they love. Dawson's sarcastic and drole commentary had me laughing even as the situations these women faced appalled me. This is a book to make you grateful to live in the 21st century in a liberal, tolerant country, and to remind you how hard-won the rights I have as a woman were. Looking at what is happening in the USA right now is a very unsettling reminder that we have to keep fighting to ensure those rights are maintained and moved forward because there are people in this world who would like nothing better than to contain and control women and will do everything to strip those rights away.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brent Piaskoski

    A fascinating subject matter told in an absolutely thrilling and whimsical manner. Writer Tracy Dawson delves into the history of women who have masqueraded as men to follow their passion with such conviction you can't help but imagine that she was once all their best friend. A gifted-story teller Ms. Dawson conveys these epic success stories in a manner that is casual and at times lighthearted without ever robbing the women of the gravitas their accomplishments deserve. Be it throwing in the od A fascinating subject matter told in an absolutely thrilling and whimsical manner. Writer Tracy Dawson delves into the history of women who have masqueraded as men to follow their passion with such conviction you can't help but imagine that she was once all their best friend. A gifted-story teller Ms. Dawson conveys these epic success stories in a manner that is casual and at times lighthearted without ever robbing the women of the gravitas their accomplishments deserve. Be it throwing in the odd swear word or pop culture reference, Dawson elevates each battle of sexism to a level where you can't help but be enthralled. I only wish I had a teacher in high school who made history so effortlessly entertaining.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie Calleja

    What a thrill to have these fascinating and under-acknowledged women all in one spot. I thank Tracy Dawson for seeking them out and shining a spotlight on their lives. Dawson filters these stories through her dazzling comedic point of view but there is also so much insight, empathy, anger and frustration at the lengths women have had to go to be in the world on their own terms. Let Me Be Frank is a celebration and I loved every page of it. The illustrations are incredible and the book itself is What a thrill to have these fascinating and under-acknowledged women all in one spot. I thank Tracy Dawson for seeking them out and shining a spotlight on their lives. Dawson filters these stories through her dazzling comedic point of view but there is also so much insight, empathy, anger and frustration at the lengths women have had to go to be in the world on their own terms. Let Me Be Frank is a celebration and I loved every page of it. The illustrations are incredible and the book itself is so darn beautiful. Get it on your shelf!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paige Gascho

    The womens' stories are so empowering, but I wasn't the biggest fan of the writing style. I definitely gained perspective about the extents to which women were discriminated against, and how privileged I am to live where I do at this time (NOT to say misogyny doesn't exist anymore LOL). I also love how the book recognized women who were erased out of history despite their groundbreaking accomplishments. The womens' stories are so empowering, but I wasn't the biggest fan of the writing style. I definitely gained perspective about the extents to which women were discriminated against, and how privileged I am to live where I do at this time (NOT to say misogyny doesn't exist anymore LOL). I also love how the book recognized women who were erased out of history despite their groundbreaking accomplishments.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Stokes

    Not only is the books topic interesting and relevant but the authors voice is so refreshing and fun and conversational. She really knows how to write and balance the line between educating and entertaining. I know this review is totally lame compared to her writing but I would highly recommend this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I tore through this in two days. It’s deserving of every glowing adjective it has received and more. It’s tender, funny, biting and beautiful. It was such a delight and honor to be introduced to so many remarkable women. Their stories and their places in history are important and Dawson has given them the voice, dignity and respect they deserve. Bravo a thousand times over.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hollie Overton

    Loved this book! I listened to the audio and it’s so funny and insightful! Rage provoking at times when you realize how hard it was for women but told with love and care and so much humor! A definite must-read!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Avril Martin

    So fun! I loved the stories, was appalled (while I shouldn't be surprised) by societal norms and inspired by these amazing (real life) women. So fun! I loved the stories, was appalled (while I shouldn't be surprised) by societal norms and inspired by these amazing (real life) women.

  18. 4 out of 5

    MK LaFs

    So many interesting women I’m excited to read/research more about.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amandasantana

    Just a really fun read. The stories were short. The writing was irreverent. Some of the stories made me tear up. Some I already knew. And the illustrations are beautiful.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Slmstanley

    Cute and informative!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    The idea behind this book has a lot of potential but the author’s writing makes it unbearable.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sara Goldenberg

    I liked some essays more than others. Still a great book and interesting author!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hughes

    Intriguing book and some interesting stories. The author inserts her opinions too often that make the stories and subject difficult to read. Vulgarity also makes this hard to enjoy and share with younger readers. Suggested chapters (my favorites): The Story of Kathrine Switzer Iranian Women Sneaking Into Stadiums Rena "Rusty" Kanakogi Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Maria Toorpakai Pili Hussein Intriguing book and some interesting stories. The author inserts her opinions too often that make the stories and subject difficult to read. Vulgarity also makes this hard to enjoy and share with younger readers. Suggested chapters (my favorites): The Story of Kathrine Switzer Iranian Women Sneaking Into Stadiums Rena "Rusty" Kanakogi Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Maria Toorpakai Pili Hussein

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kaylee Watson

    The stories throughout were incredibly interesting, but the jokes and such just did not land. I couldn't tell if it was the writing style or the narrator (I listened to the audiobook), or perhaps both, but I was annoyed the whole time. The stories throughout were incredibly interesting, but the jokes and such just did not land. I couldn't tell if it was the writing style or the narrator (I listened to the audiobook), or perhaps both, but I was annoyed the whole time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    KL

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rose

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erica Lamb Brown

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  29. 5 out of 5

    ken

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dreamjeanie

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