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BOOK REVIEW: Quotes for Nasty Women – Empowering Wisdom from Women Who Break the Rules edited by Linda Picone

| 19 January 2018 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Quotes for Nasty Women – Empowering Wisdom from Women Who Break the Rules edited by Linda Picone

Sterling Publishing Co Inc
December 2017
Paperback, $22.99
Reviewed by Natalie Salvo

Non-Fiction / Society & Culture / Social Issues & Processes / Feminism & Feminist Theory


When Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton “such a nasty woman” during the last political debate in 2016, he was trying to demean his fellow presidential candidate. But some women decided to adopt this phrase as a badge of honour and reclaim it as a tool for empowerment. This is the perspective that the book, Quotes for Nasty Women – Empowering Wisdom from Women Who Break the Rules comes from. This is a set that is edited and compiled by writer, Linda Picone who has already published several other quote books on different topics. In Nasty Women she draws together the wit and wisdom offered by some powerful women throughout history.

Some Nasty Women are quiet, some are loud. Some work behind the scenes, some stand in front of crowds. Some seek out the role, some are thrust into it by circumstances. They vary greatly in historic era, philosophy, voice, and the causes they fight for—or against.
This collection of quotes by, for, and about Nasty Women includes a few women from centuries past, many from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and a wide range of contemporary women. Their voices are different, just as their concerns often are, but their comments and advice are consistent across generations, geography, race and history.

This book is fun and would make a nice gift. It is also rather thick, about the size of your hand, and it is easy to transport around, should you wish. It’s would also make a good night-stand book which could be referred to at leisure. The quotes aren’t ordered in any particular way so you can dip in and out of the title as you wish.

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible.’” – Audrey Hepburn

The sources of these quotes include a number of different women from history. There are references to fighting civil wars from hundreds of years ago through to modern quotes about battling trolls online. Women from all walks of life including feminists, suffragettes, government leaders, artists, writers, musicians, actors, lawyers, activists and celebrities are included here:

“The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” – Rita Mae Brown

It is quite likely that a lot of these quotes could already be found online in varying forms. While it is handy to have these all in the one complete package, the design and structure of this book could have been improved. There are no illustrations and this seems like a wasted opportunity to set it apart from something you could read in interviews or online. There are also a few different fonts used throughout the text that are printed in a mixture of pink, black, and white depending on the colour of the page’s background. On some pages there is a large, single quote and on other pages multiple quotes are lumped in together. Perhaps this is to let some have a greater impact than others, but it would have been more appealing on the eye if there was more consistency in the types of fonts that were used.

“I want to be around a really long time. I want to be a thorn in the side of everything as long as possible.” – Patti Smith

It is also disappointing that a short, one-line biography for each woman is included at the end rather than alongside her quote. When you’ve gone to the trouble of crediting each woman by name it would have been useful to include their bio so that the reader has the appropriate context when interpreting and digesting her quote rather than having to flick back and forth. Some names are quite famous but this list is so far-reaching that it is impossible to be fully aware of every contributor’s achievement or role in society. And had this one line bio been included alongside the quote, more detailed information could have been supplied at the end for those readers wanting further reading about the women included here.

“You can waste your life drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” – Shonda Rhimes

There is no doubt that some quotes will resonate with some readers more than others. Inspirational topics like continuing to try in the face of failure as well as being strong and your own unique self are constant themes. For my money, some of the best quotes in this collection come courtesy of the droll American poet and writer, Dorothy Parker who is referenced here multiple times:

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

“That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone. ‘Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgement.’”

Quotes for Nasty Women is by no means a perfect or definitive collection of quotes and affirmations but it’s certainly an interesting one. It draws together a range of different voices who offer a wonderful mixed bag of useful quotes, advice and affirmations that should make you stop and think. Quotes for Nasty Women is a fun little gift that reclaims the “Nasty” badge and proves that we can learn a lot from and appreciate our sisters who have fought similar battles before.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

Natalie Salvo is a foodie and writer from Sydney. You can find her digging around in second hand book shops or submerged in vinyl crates at good record stores. Her website is at:

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