Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves and Other Female Villains Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-10-22 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 3 user ratings

"I would have given this a 3.5, because the summation of the Bad Girls was well done and the illustrations were lovely. But the authors - a mother daughter team - inserted a comic panel of themselves "discussing" the relative badness of each girl after every story, and not only were the panels jarring and lacking, they failed at what I believe the goal was - to get readers thinking about relativity. Halfway through the book I started skipping those panels and I found the experience much more pleasant (and actually MORE thought-provoking!)" said.

"This is a horrible book that portrays women in a bad light. Not only is it badly written the authors go out of their way to make these women seem bad for the stupidest reason which in many cases is historically incorrect. This was another book I picked to read with my daughter thinking it will be nice to introduce her to females from history. According to the author Jezebel was bad because she was spoiled, was different, and made bad choices. Elisabeth Bathory murdered people because she was vain and bored and to make her worse she practiced witchcraft and magic not any magic but black magic. This book is a joke and I regret getting it!" said.

"I think maybe I wanted a little more from this... but then I studied women's history in college and this is a book for tweens, so maybe that's unreasonable. I think it's a great little intro to some famous (and not-so-famous) women of history, as well as to the concept that there are multiple perspectives on historical figures. And that people, especially women, maybe have been operating within a limited framework when they made their options.

I also liked the comic versions of Jane Yolen and her daughter/co-author talking about each "bad girl" and making their own judgement. It feels cute and behind-the-scenes-y, and shows healthy disagreements.
" said.

"Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, and Other Female Villains is a wonderful book written my Yolen and her daughter. They tell the tales of women in history that are considered villains. You determine if they had cause for what they did or did they really commit a heinous crime. Villians range from Jezebel, Ma Barker, Bonnie Clyde, Bloody Mary, and Virginia Hill to name a few. Some of the crimes committed where horrible and were not glamorized in the story. It is an account of what history can tell us.
This book is perfect for reluctant readers and I can't wait to share this with my class when school starts. I love that this is several short stories of villainess women, and that each has a short comic page of the two authors discussing between them what was said. One taking the view of evil and the other questioning. A wonderful read for middle schoolers.
" said.

"Infamous women from history: are they bad, or just not adhering to the social mores of their times? This is the question that Jane Yolen and her daughter ask about a variety of women through history. Some are well known (Cleopatra, Typhoid Mary) and some are rather obscure (Popova?), but all get a nice short treatment and interesting illustrations. I think that students interested in graphic novel treatments of nonfiction will be drawn to this, but I think they will be disappointed that the interior graphics are devoted mainly to discussions between the two writers about whether the women were bad or misunderstood. The comic strip format covers Yolen and Stemple as they shop for shoes, go to a spa, go to a conference and book store, etc. That part was really odd, and I didn't care much for it. While I like the idea of discussing whether or not the women covered were really bad, it could have been done in a more effective way.

" said.

"Despite finding this is the Young Adult section, this book caters to a Middle Grade/ Upper Elementary audience.

This accounts for 24 "bad girls" from BC to mid 1900's, from Cleopatra to Bloody Mary to Bonnie Parker (Clyde's girl) to Lizzie Bordon. Summaries of the different women are kept extremely short and just give the bare overview of their infamy. After each section there are single page length comics of the authors discussing the lady (whoever the section was about) in casual settings. I started skipping over these comics less than halfway through the book. They provide alternate viewpoints and topics of discussion, but I just didn't enjoy them.

Some of the bad girls mentioned, I wouldn't have classified as "bad" but the book does acknowledge later on that some of these women are more victims of bad circumstances.

All in all, it was enjoyable and informative, but the overviews were too brief for my taste. However, I doubt I am the intended age level for this! I was also very surprised to see Wikipedia listed as a resource!
" said.

"This was a fun and interesting book about rebellious women of history and legend. The cast of characters is a motley crew of women who have make their presence known by breaking many rules and perhaps not a small number of bones. I think Yolen and Stemple do a great job of introducing readers to some important and wacky (and terrifying) historical figures, and to the processes of researching, writing and collaboration.

My main issue with the book was the comics that came after each chapter. Sometimes the shtick in these sections got heavy-handed -- I found them to be very repetitive and a bit condescending toward their intended audience. I think perhaps the authors were trying a little too hard to keep to their chosen recipe of humor and reflection and it felt over-produced and hemmed in. I doubt their YA audience would have minded more authentic, in-depth reflections. I did enjoy some of the comic-book banter of the mother-daughter team. It's great that they address the process of writing together and the question of badness versus boldness versus people in dire straights just trying to make it in the world. But, these sections were very guarded and not so engaging.
" said.

"Features the "usual suspects" (Cleopatra, Queen Mary I of England, Catherine the Great, and Elizabeth Bathory) with a few new ones who are relative unknowns unless you have a passing interest in the late 19th century American or 1940s-1950s mafia history. Geared towards a young adult audience, the chapters are relatively short and poses the moral question at the end of whether or not we should consider these women villianous based on their circumstance. Hard to tell in some cases in the way the information is presented. Personally I have no issues if the main sources come from Wikipedia as it indicates how little scholarship have been devoted towards some of these women. I do have any issue however in how this is list is pre-dominantly Euro-centric and American-centric. Inclusion of other figures from other cultures and society would have made the list much more interesting. However, if the book gets you interested in reading more about these women, then it has done it's job. Although I wonder if young females were the actual audience for this book as I suspect that the writers were trying to write a book that would attract a much wider audience that are more accustomed to pop culture-like media entries as opposed to more scholarly analysis. " said.

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