Know My Name is a truly remarkable book. Chanel Miller, the woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, reflects on her experience – that night, the next morning, the trial, and beyond. This is a graphic, raw, and honest telling of her experience, followed up by the viral 12 page statement she made to Turner which was published on BuzzFeed. As a victim myself, I found this book to be empowering and relatable.

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The summary, from Amazon:

Universally acclaimed, rapturously reviewed, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, and an instant New York Times bestseller, 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, #1 New York Times bestselling 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 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.

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

Buy Know My Name here.

If you do not know of Chanel’s case, it was a huge news story in the United States. She was known as “Emily Doe” to the public throughout the case. Brock Turner was a college student at Stanford when he sexually assaulted Chanel Miller at a party on campus. The defense and many online assholes lamented the “loss” of Turner’s life as he knew it, continually mentioning his previous sterling reputation and skills as a collegiate athlete. These same people blamed Emily Doe for what happened to her because she was drunk. While Turner was found guilty, he served a very short sentence.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author. Chanel speaks in a slow, cadent rhythm and her voice will stick with me. I listened at 1.3x speed.

I need to talk about why Chanel’s book was so meaningful to me. I am a victim of sexual assault, and I was the same age as Chanel when I was raped, but it goes beyond this. Chanel spent some months in Philadelphia, and as she began describing her experiences there, her interests she pursued at the time, and the interests of her boyfriend, I quickly realized it was likely we have acquaintances in common. I am originally from the Philadelphia area, and was local during the time Chanel stayed there. Her boyfriend is a rugby player. I’ve dated or am acquainted with quite a few rugby players, and it seems like they have attended some of the same events as Chanel’s boyfriend. I kept waiting for her the mention an event or date where our paths must have crossed. Finally, it happened. Chanel attended a performance by Margaret Cho at Helium Comedy Club on the same night I did. Cho has spoken – and joked – about her experience as a rape survivor, and I remember embracing and relating to her anger and humor that evening. I was so touched by this book, both empowered and comforted, and I feel even more so knowing that I shared a space and laughed at the same jokes and felt the same anger as the remarkable young woman that is Chanel Miller for one night in Philadelphia in 2016.

I can’t stop gushing about this heart-wrenching yet comforting read. This was 5 stars for me.

Find out more about how I rate books here.

Know My NameKnow My Name by Chanel Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing book. Chanel’s voice will stick with me for a long time. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially fellow victims of sexual assault. Empowering and real. I listened to the audiobook on 1.3x.

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Book Club Questions

  1. Do you remember and did you follow this case in the news? How did you feel about it then and how do you feel about it after reading this book?
  2. Was there anything about the legal system from Chanel’s perspective that surprised you, or anything else about her story that you did not expect?
  3. Chanel was unable to give consent, but the defense and commenters pointed out that Chanel never said no. Consent is given freely and enthusiastically. How can we continue to develop the conversation around consent?


Interested? Buy Know My Name.
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P.S. I listened to this book on Audible. Try Audible and get two free audiobooks!

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