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Book Review: Notorious RBG (+ RBG Merchandise)

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This review of Notorious RBG discusses the book that celebrates "The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg" in a fun way, with an irreverent look at her pop culture status. Then, I share some pairings for more!

Review of Notorious RBG: The Life and Time of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Imagine a 5'1", eighty-five-year-old Supreme Court Justice pumping weights in the gym.  That's the most endearing part of the book Notorious RBG (as well as the documentary of the same name).  And yes, she did work out. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg became infamous in recent years. Perhaps it's the yin and yang of her diminutive physical appearance and her decades-long battles for women's rights and other equalities.  Or perhaps it's because her "rapper name" just suits her.

Justice Ginsburg became known as the great liberal dissenter on a panel of more conservative Justices, and the fact she was female in a male-dominated governing body propelled her status as an outlier that women and liberals gravitate towards.  She fought the good fight for her causes.  And she believed that all can benefit from less gender discrimination: “I think gender discrimination is bad for everyone, it’s bad for men, it’s bad for children." 

The book Notorious RBG is tongue in cheek -- it celebrated her accomplishments yet also shared the Notorious RBG culture -- the babies dressed in the Justice's trademark glasses, collar and robe for Halloween, the fan art.  But Justice Ginsburg was nothing short of impressive, no matter what side of the fence you sit on politically.  Perhaps that was why she gets along with her fellow more conservative Justices so well.  She said that getting angry was simply a waste of time.

Of note,  Justice Ginsburg earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University, and she became a wife and mother before entering Harvard Law School surrounding by nearly all men in a pre-civil rights era.  She transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first place in her class, while her husband battled cancer.

Now, as someone who also graduated from law school myself, such distinction as Justice Ginsburg attained while also being a mother and wife of a cancer-stricken husband is nothing short of unfathomable. 

And -- here's the kicker.  After graduation, she couldn't get a job because she was female.  There's still gender discrimination in the legal profession.  It's a man's world, an old boys' club.  Generally, people are inclusive, but it's not at all uncommon to be called "young lady" or be misidentified as a court reporter or assistant. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg played a large role in how and why I am able to practice law in a more inclusive world.  She worked hard. Probably too hard.  She was, quite simply, a force of nature. 

As the great dissenter, she didn't always win, but she remained optimistic and hopeful.  

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Notorious RBG just may change your life if you are an attorney, a woman, a liberal and/or an American looking to learn more about political figures in a fun way.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Pairings

For more like Notorious RBG:

  • Watch the documentary movie of the same name! It's both fun and inspiring. 
  • I also highly recommend the movie On the Basis of Sex, which was so surprisingly great.  I had my doubts because it was just about a piece of RBG's life, but it really delivered. 
  • I also recommend that you check out my Ruth Bader Ginsburg Gift Guide, which contains all things RBG, from more essential books to fun merchandise.

I hope this book review of Notorious RBG with fun lifestyle pairings was helpful.

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