The Most Important Book of 2019

E1454893-F875-46C2-A0FF-C4CA15007341All of my Top Lists of 2019 have already been published (The Best of the Best: My Top Fiction Book & Nonfiction Book of 2019Top 10 Fiction Books of 2019Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2019Top 10 Backlist Books I Read in 2019Top 10 Audiobooks of 2019, and 2019 Honorable Mentions), but I saved the most important for last!


In January 2015, Chanel Miller was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, a student-athlete at Stanford University. For the duration of the trial, Miller was referred to as “Emily Doe”, but with the release of her memoir, Know My Name, earlier this year, she rightfully took back the narrative of her story.

Miller’s writing is brilliant and well thought out. She doesn’t come across as a whiny victim; she simply wants to be seen and known as something more than just “Brock’s victim”. She is anything but that. She is smart and funny and enjoys art. She is loved dearly by her mother, father, sister, and boyfriend.

I believe this book should be added to high school (and college) curriculums, and I believe every mama (of girls AND boys) needs to read it. Miller quite pointedly explains to us what sexual assault is and what it looks like. She teaches us how it penetrates all aspects of a survivor’s life, from her own personal demons to those of her loved ones. And she shows us how our society perpetuates and tolerates a pervasive rape culture.

“What we needed to raise in others was this instinct. The ability to recognize, in an instant, right from wrong. The clarity of mind to face it rather than ignore it. I learned that before they had chased Brock, they had checked on me. Masculinity is often defined by physicality, but that initial kneeling is as powerful as the leg sweep, the tackling. Masculinity is found in the vulnerability, the crying.” (pg 123, acknowledging how the two Swedes, Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Peter Jonnson, reacted when they witnessed Miller’s assault.

12 thoughts on “The Most Important Book of 2019

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