Story wonders: Notorious RBG

Topics: Book review

Today, I adopted the calico’s strict sleeping regimen:

Sleep until 8:00 am, wake for a few hours, and then sleep more until the kid gets home from school at 3:00 pm. I’ll probably go to bed at my usual early time.

I don’t think I’d want to do this all the time, but it’s all I can manage with whatever virus I’ve picked up. It’s nice to have cats encouraging my healing lazy ways.

The crud has also given me a chance to finish one of the best non-fiction books I’ve found.


I had heard of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg but didn’t know her full life story until this book caught my eye on the library shelf the other day. Full of photos and illustrations with details about SCOTUS that I should know but don’t always, the cats and I enjoyed this read by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik.

Graduating from law school at the top of her class at Columbia, Ginsberg still found it nearly impossible to find a job because no one would hire a woman. In the 1960s, law firms routinely posted openings for ‘men only.’ One judge refused to hire her as a clerk because he’d have to stop his comfortable habit of swearing if a woman worked in his office. When one employer found out she was pregnant, she was immediately demoted with a cut in pay.

Because of her experiences, she could have become bitter and turned against others. Instead, she steadfastly, worked to improve the lives of both men and women. She won her first case in front of the Supreme Court by arguing that a widower was entitled to social security benefits just like his employed wife would have been if he had been the sole income earner and had passed away first.

She said something over and over that I forget sometimes: equality between the sexes benefits all of us.

A love story also wound its way through this biography.  Her husband Marty Ginsberg steadfastly supported her by encouraging her work, sharing all the parenting duties, and even becoming the family chef. The two of them supported each other non-stop and both benefited in their careers and family life. Their love shines through the pages, and I truly believe Justice Ginsberg rose as high as she did because of his phenomenal support.

And we’ve all benefited.






About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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