Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for Brazen: My Unorthodox Journey from Long Sleeves to Lingerie, a memoir written by J. Haart
First thing first, let me thank Anne and the publisher, Crown Publishing Group, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
Ever since she was a child, every aspect of Julia Haart’s life–what she wore, what she ate, what she thought–was controlled by the dictates of ultra-orthodox Judaism. At nineteen, after a lifetime spent caring for her seven younger siblings, she was married off to a man she barely knew. For the next twenty-three years, he would rule her life. Eventually, when Julia’s youngest daughter Miriam started to question why she wasn’t allowed to sing, run, or ride a bike, Julia reached a breaking point. She knew that if she didn’t find a way to leave, her daughters would be forced into the same unending servitude that had imprisoned her.
So Julia created a double life. When no one was looking, she’d sneak looks at fashion magazines and sketch designs for the clothes she dreamed about wearing in the world beyond her orthodox suburb. In the ultra-orthodox world, clothing has one purpose: to cover the body, head to toe. Giving any thought to one’s appearance beyond that is considered sinful, an affront to God. She started clandestinely selling life insurance to save her “freedom” money. At the age of forty-two, she finally mustered the courage to flee the fundamentalist life that was strangling her soul.
Within a week of her escape, Julia started a shoe brand, and within nine months she was at Paris for fashion week. A year later, she became creative director of La Perla, the world-leading lingerie brand. And now, she is the co-owner and CEO of Elite World Group, and one of the most powerful people in the fashion industry.
Propulsive and unforgettable, Julia’s story is the journey from a world of “no” to a world of “yes,” and an inspiration for women everywhere to find their freedom, their purpose, and their voice.
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/03/22
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: It packs such a punch.
Interesting work, but it could have been so much better!
The first section is informative enough and I like all the details Haart providesa her reader: I never had the chance to delve deep into religious topics before, so I latched onto Brazen with enthusiasm. You see, my upbringing has been vastly different from Haart’s one, and the opportunity to learn won me over in 1-2-3. Plus, her inner voice is clear and it’s paired with a good grasp on both rhythm and pacing.
Maybe the only thing that I’d change is the overuse of brackets. Footnotes are your friends, as they can be used to help with translations without breaking the flow. Still, it’s a minor complaint, albeit something a good editor should point out.
The second section instead? It’s too much. Some anecdotes puzzle me—sorry, I’m never interested in anyone’s sex life—while some are genuinely cool.
My assessment of Brazen says 3.8 stars, rounded up to 4.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Julia Haart is the star of the Netflix docuseries My Unorthodox Life.
She is the CEO, co-owner and chief creative officer of Elite World Group, the world’s first talent media agency, which is comprised of 48 global agencies representing the most dynamic and culturally connected talent in the world.
She was previously the creative director of La Perla, the luxury Italian intimates brand, and launched her career as a designer with her namesake shoe collection.
Julia lives in Manhattan.
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