... concise, intellectually and emotionally engaging ... even if you’re a relative mythology novice, Zimmerman’s expansive and inviting critiques will likely capture your interest ... The strength and boldness of the images harmonize with Zimmerman’s recu- perative assembly of a new mythology ... Zimmerman simultaneously entertains her readers with the reanimation of familiar stories from the days of old while also situating these tales in a fresh and progressive contemporary frame ... Because of their origins as standalone essays, Zimmerman’s chapters meander pleasingly, rove widely, and put her own voice in conversation with a dazzling pantheon of other thinkers ... rangy yet incisive ... Virtually every page is packed with fun facts, not in the sense of trivia for each item feels carefully selected to enhance her argument—but in the sense of little nuggets of data that are a pleasure to learn ... Zimmerman’s writing wears its research lightly and her tone, though unapologetically erudite, remains conversational and welcoming, free of jargon or academic smugness. But make no mistake about the extensive scholarship underlying each piece. Her formidable works cited could serve as the syllabus for an intense graduate school class, exhibiting an energetic engagement with other experts on these subjects ... offers a fittingly wayfaring exploration of the many feminist lessons that monsters have to teach us.
Zimmerman combines the stories of the monsters with episodes from her own life and with sharp cultural criticism ... The collection’s mashup of ancient archetypes, memoir, and cultural critique works because Zimmerman is such a great writer. She’s fierce, funny, and erudite. Whether she’s offering painful reminiscences of her life, breaking down each frame of Aerosmith’s 1994 'Crazy' video, or synthesizing social science research on differing perceptions of ambition in women and men, her prose is incredibly engaging ... It’s likely that many readers will feel the truth of this book in their bones as Zimmerman dissects the mythologies that still constrain women.
While Zimmerman admits not to being a classicist or to offer an 'authentic' interpretation of the monsters she discusses, their still-resonant images are excellent stand-ins for problems women still face today. Sometimes you need a reminder that Charybdis, while able to be survived, could not be defeated. For lovers of mythology and modern feminism, Zimmerman marries the two and gives us insight into how we can harness our power today.
... powerful ... While the personal experiences Zimmerman draws on are by no means universal, there is plenty here for any woman to relate to. Her wit and eloquence, as well as her understanding of these myths, make for persuasive and empowering reading that will have women embracing their inner monsters.
... witty and erudite ... wide-ranging ... A graceful stylist who casts a wide literary and geographical net, Zimmerman can make nearly anything interesting ... The author avoids academic cant and shows a disarming willingness to acknowledge her own vulnerability to damaging messages ... Not everyone will accept her argument that the traits that made monsters dangerous 'are actually their greatest strength[s]' and can be turned on their heads...Nearly every page, however, brings fresh insights into age-old myths or tragicomic observations on 21st-century womanhood...This book is excellent armor for the battle ... A sparkling and perceptive critique of ancient ideas that still hold women back.
... wry and deeply personal ... Occasionally, the book’s larger themes slip out of focus...For the most part, though, Zimmerman’s skillful pairing of ancient and modern, universal and personal, leads to nuanced discussions of how society suppresses female individuality. Zimmerman’s call for women to reclaim their own monstrosity rings loud and clear.