I should have paid more attention to the title. You know, the “notorious” bit. I went looking for a history book by an Australian woman writer that I could read on my kindle. I don’t know quite what I expected from “Notorious Australian Women”.
The book is very readable.
The opening chapters, dealing with Indigenous and convict women from the early years of European settlement, were strong. They were fantastic in the wealth of period detail and history woven into their biographies.
The style of the later chapters would suit inclusion in a magazine as feature articles. I was fascinated by the varied achievements and daring of the women described. But…it wasn’t my cup of tea and I’ve spent a few days thinking about why not.
A major element of the Australian Women Writers Reading and Reviewing Challenge is to read outside your normal reading. Well, now I realise why I read a few autobiographies but seldom touch a biography (like this collection). The biographies feel voyeuristic. This is purely my perception. “Notorious Australian Women” isn’t a nasty or lip-licking book. But I didn’t like the sense of the narrator coming through the story and telling me how the woman thought, loved and hated.