... an eminently enjoyable collection of Vanity Fair profiles of women by women from the 1980s to the present ... A perfect book for dipping into when something longer and more involved would be too much. There are plenty of 'I didn’t know that' moments in spite of how well known many of these talented women will be to readers.
... takes no risks at all, save for the risk of irrelevance ... What are we to make of Jones’s inclusion of Lady Gaga and Michelle Williams, but not Beyoncé or Venus Williams (or any athlete at all)? Why Grace Kelly but not Grace Jones? Why is the closing statement — on #MeToo — a Freudian riff by Monica Lewinsky, and not a convocation from the movement founder Tarana Burke? Had it a robust editorial vision, this collection could’ve been marvelous ... The book’s final section, headed In Their Own Words, confounds me. What did the editors intend with this blitz of recent, data-heavy essays on gender discrimination? With the 40 or so pages, were they trying to make up for mindless choices in the previous nearly 400? ... the handful of superb profiles — particularly the ones on Child, Bush, Steinem and Waithe — salvage the volume, and it may be worth having for those. Maybe a future edition can expand on strengths to create a more compelling book.
A vigorous selection of essays spanning the magazine’s modern era that underscore the combative resilience of notable accomplished women who never gave in to what was expected of them ... Yes, the pieces engagingly capture the celebrity of many of the subjects, but they are also culturally relevant and timely ... Written as minibiographies, the profiles serve as poignant tales of how one rises and falls and then rises again ... Besides making for absorbing reading, these essays pack a feminist wallop.