Know My Name
A powerful read. In 2016, Buzzfeed published the victim impact statement of Emily Doe, shortly after a Stanford swimmer was sentenced to just six months of jail for sexually assaulting her on campus. Emily Doe was Chanel Miller, and in her stunning memoir, Miller reclaims her identity, tells her story, and challenges a system that oppresses victims. I loved this book and think about it often, not only because of Miller’s courage, but also because of her incredible, compelling voice. She is able to weave hope and trauma and healing and humor together in such beautiful ways. Her transformative storytelling made this an unforgettable reading experience.
Universally acclaimed, rapturously reviewed, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, and an instant New York Times best seller, Chanel Miller’s breathtaking memoir “gives readers the privilege of knowing her not just as Emily Doe, but as Chanel Miller the writer, the artist, the survivor, the fighter” (The Wrap).
“I opened Know My Name with the intention to bear witness to the story of a survivor. Instead, I found myself falling into the hands of one of the great writers and thinkers of our time. Chanel Miller is a philosopher, a cultural critic, a deep observer, a writer’s writer, a true artist. I could not put this phenomenal book down.” (Glennon Doyle, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Love Warrior and Untamed)
“Know My Name is a gut-punch, and in the end, somehow, also blessedly hopeful.” (Washington Post)
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 11 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 listeners 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.
Chosen as a Best Book of 2019 by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Time, Elle, Glamour, Parade, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, BookRiot