Know My Name – Chanel Miller

Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 357
Release Date: September 24, 2019

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.

Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. It also introduces readers to an extraordinary writer, one whose words have already changed our world. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic. 

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Know My Name is unquestionably one of the best memoirs I have ever read. It’s also one of the hardest pieces of writing I’ve ever read. Miller strikes fast and hard as she gets to the heart of sexual assault and the legal proceedings that go along with it. Know My Name is an intimate look at a sexual assault survivor’s journey to healing and justice.

Miller is a talented writer who easily threads together a narrative readers won’t be able to look away from despite its graphic contents. Miller speaks from her heart as she leads readers through the years immediately following the assault as she tries to navigate her new reality.

Miller’s victim impact statement featured at the end of Know My Name is a piece of writing I won’t soon forget. Miller eloquently lays out her thoughts, feelings, the injustice of it, and how her life has changed in just a few short pages. It’s a piece of writing that resonated with thousand upon thousand of women, found its way into Hilary Clinton’s What Happened, and warranted a reply from the Vice President, Joe Biden. If there’s one thing you should read, it’s Chanel Miller’s impact statement.

Overall, Know My Name is a difficult memoir to read because it bleeds Miller’s emotion, but ultimately speaks to her resilience and strength. Know My Name is a memoir that should be read by everyone so that we can continue to reinforce the notion that we believe women and stand by them and that no amount of alcohol or skimpy clothing be reason enough to excuse sexual assault. 

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Have you read Know My Name? What did you think?

2 thoughts on “Know My Name – Chanel Miller

  1. Great review! This one is on my TBR but I am quite intimidated by it because even just reading her impact statement was *wow*. I know it’s going to be a tough one but definitely worth the read when I’m ready for it 🙂

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