Despite its title, Confident Women is not a book telling you to be more or better anything. It is not a book telling you about women you should necessarily emulate either.
In this title, “Confident women” is a play on “confidence woman”, “con woman” for short. You may recognize the masculine version more easily: “con man”.
Some of the stories you may know, but there are plenty that you won’t.
I found the book a face paced, easy, fun read, but I was also satisfied by the copious citations in the back of the book. True crime stories are author and podcaster Tori Telfer’s specialty, and she did her homework.
The quote on the cover of my library copy asks why we might feel compelled to cheer on the master of the con, whether male or female, but to me, the answer is obvious. It’s not because it’s a victimless crime…while cons are usually not violent, they aren’t victimless. Some of the victims do kind of deserve to be separated from their money, and some of the cons aren’t even particularly about money, but in most cases, the folks who are scammed deserve what they have just the same as anyone else.
I think what we admire is the nerve. Don’t we all sometimes get sick of living in a system that feels rigged, in one way or another? Don’t we admire people who are willing to just figure it out for themselves?
And of course, a lot of people that they fool are people who do kind of want to be fooled in one way or another. I’m sure a big part of the game is being able to pick those people out.
In general, I’m not a big fan of true crime stories, but first of all, cons are mostly about using your brains, not violence or gore, and second, I kind of like to know what’s out there so I can recognize it when I see it.
Confident Women is a great read if you want something entertaining and engaging, yet also though provoking.
Further reading: Remember the Welfare Queens in the 1980’s?
I remember the big controversy about welfare in the 1980’s, and I knew it resulted in changes that severely limit resources that low-income parents have. What I did not know is that the main “welfare queen” was a con artist.
Will the real Anastasia please stand up?
Imposter Anna Anderson is pictured on the left in 1922. Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia is pictured in captivity in 1917 on the right. Both photos are via Wikipedia Commons and are in the public domain.
One in the women in this book actually conned the author of The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum. Read How L. Frank Baum Invented Wizardry in North America (beating J.K. Rowling by nearly 100 Years) to find out more!