Michelle Dean’s Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion acts as an excellent primer on interesting women, the work they produced and the lives they lived. From Dorothy Parker to Zora Neale Hurston and eight other in writers in between, Dean’s book acts as an introduction to some and a reminder to others.
Be aware, this book in no way attempts to be the beginning, middle and end of what a reader should know about these women. It is rather a starting point, a place to begin and will hopefully lead to more time spent with the work of these talented women.
Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm are the women included in the collection. Some of these women are household names, some you might be familiar with their work if not their names and all of them have had an impact on society at large.
Dorothy Parker’s pithy sayings, Nora Ephron’s iconic films and Joan Didion’s observations covering the past decades of American life are the better known of the women covered but every woman is worthy of meeting and getting to know.
I highly recommend these essays. It is a reminder that opinionated women aren’t a modern invention but rather a tradition to be cherished and hopefully added to.