Dear Know My Name,
Thank you for taking the time to record your experiences and share them with the world. I am grateful to see people out there like you daring to fight for others.
P.S. Book Details
Author: Chanel Miller
Book Length: 368 pages//15 hours 24 minutes
Book Genre: Memoir
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Awards: Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction (2020), National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Autobiography (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Memoir & Autobiography (2019)
Synopsis: She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral–viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.
Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways–there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.
Let me start off by saying, I was impressed with the grace and articulation Chanel Miller presented in her writing. Hearing her speak her story with raw details was difficult at times. Difficult because with her vulnerability highlights places in society that we need to do better. It is sad to read some of the things that she had to experience and go through. Yet, the ultimate triumph her story has for others like her.
I noticed a lot of people lowered their rating because of the politics she brought in towards the end of her book. Honestly, I feel both ways on this issue. On one hand, I also did not really like bringing politics into books. Yet, on the other hand, the reason she brought in politics related directly to the purpose of her memoir. She did not go off on tangents, but instead stayed on point and related it back to her theme. I appreciated the way she approached the cultural narrative, even though it made some readers uncomfortable (just take a look on Goodreads and you will see).
Content wise, this book reminded me of anther I read earlier this year called, Liberation is Here. Still, her writing was unique and deeply felt by the author and the reader. Recently I was listening to an interview with Frederick Backman, and he said when he writes he needs to feel the emotion he is trying to convey. If the reader cries while reading the story, it is likely he cried while writing it. I felt this book with every letter. Miller writes with great intention to communicate her experience and call out things that need to be brought out into the light. Being read by the author most likely contributed to this feeling of connectedness.
I do not hesitate to recommend this book. There are a couple trigger warnings in place for any reader going into this book surrounding sexual assault and graphic descriptions during the court proceedings. Everything written had a purpose, yet it can be difficult to read. If you are interested in reader a personal memoir or a book advocating for social justice, this one is amazing. I recommend having someone to process with during or after you read Know My Name.