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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Anarchy in High Heels: A Memoir by Denise Larson is an intriguing, humorous, poignant dive into the origins of modern female comedy and friendship, beginning in the early 1970s with bra-burning and the demand for equal rights and footing. This memoir begins with a dip back into how life and culture were for women of the 1950s: Conservative, traditional, oppressive. The advent of the birth control pill opened doors of change in a number of areas, including sexual freedom and feminist politics, to name a few. The story of how a female comedy troupe found themselves meshed in this landscape is as educational as it is entertaining and instantly drops you into the time period few of today's young women know about and take for granted. Photos accompany the text and lend an extra layer to the story, as do the personal lives of these funny ladies. The mythological and spiritual aspects are a nice surprise, and the insider look at their craft is a treat as well.
Denise Larson pens a captivating personal account of herself as an aspiring actress who created Les Nickelettes, a female comedy troupe named after The People's Nickelodeon, a liberation event that went against the grain. The combined talents, wisdom, and forces of this troupe created a female bonding experience that endured for years and made an impact on women's issues and society itself. It's all about freedom of choice and equality. Yes, women can be funny, clownish, and relevant, as this memoir shows. They held one another up and brought out the best in one another. If you've ever felt suppressed, ignored, or underestimated, this one is for you. Think of the funniest ladies you know, multiply it by a thousand, and you'll have an idea of what this team was about. Besides being on the stage, Larson created change behind the scenes in power positions unusual for women back then, like a producer, director, playwright, etc. Above all this, female friendship shines the brightest. As you read, you get the feeling of a risque expose on the underground comedy scene of the day. For a funny ride worthy of multiple reads, classroom study, or book club feature, Anarchy in High Heels: A Memoir by Denise Larson should be at the top of your list.