In a pithy, one-liner-laden style, [Dawson] brings these remarkable and little-known histories to light with comedic flair ... peppered with punchy jokes in an informal, conversational tone that suits Dawson's background in television ... The result is an easy-to-read, eye-opening look at female bravery amid the sexism and misogyny throughout history; it is funny and rousing and proud.
Covering a lot of history in a comedic, sometimes overly conversational way, writer/actor Dawson profiles 20 women who disguised themselves as men 'to get shit done' and an additional dozen tangential cases, such as women authors who used male pseudonyms and Iranian women breaking gender bans. Each chapter regales readers with wild stories of women overcoming their circumstances, triumphing in their chosen fields, and often dealing with tragedy. Dawson has quips for any situation. The stories that shine are the ones that focus on lesser-known figures ... Dawson purposely declines to write about the gender identities of her book’s subjects (a decision she explains in the introduction), but this discussion’s absence is felt at times, considering Dawson’s topic ... A quirky volume that brings together stories of many interesting women for readers looking for a laugh and an education.
Whether describing how women escaped enslavement, defined literary movements, ensured women can compete in judo on an Olympic level, or take to the high seas as pirates, Dawson’s biographies are as informative as they are entertaining. Full-color illustrations by artist Tina Berning beautifully round out the collection.