Would recommend to a woman just graduating from college to follow her dreams
"Women, women, women, all of them sitting patiently in their vulnerability and vanity, sitting there as women did."
Although the Brooklyn-born Meg Wolitzer has been publishing novels since the 80s, it was 2013's "The Interestings" that brought her to a wider audience. Her most recent novel, "The Female Persuasion" is firmly of the moment, as we're riding a wave of women novelists with a feminist bent. She's a little older than writers of books like "Asymmetry" and "Conversations with Friends," two name two recent books from a critical female perspective. The story is driven by two feminists of different generations: the older, iconic Faith Frank (Who seems to be at least a little bit based on Gloria Steinem.) and the younger, more idealistic Greer Kadetsky, who hears an inspiring talk by Frank at her college and goes to work for her. The clash between generations of feminists and the compromises that many are forced to make is a fruitful and poignant theme and Wolitzer treats it and her characters with compassion, nuance, and wit. A great book.
This book has been recommended to me several times, and I do love the cover! But reading another person's review just now is what's convinced me to give this a go. I've just added it to my For Later shelf - a pretty handy feature of our catalogue, especially for those of us whose reading stacks get out of hand . . .
I enjoyed Wolitzer's last adult novel, The Interestings, but I didn't loooove it, so I picked this one up with some trepidation, and I was pleasantly surprised. Much like The Interestings, The Female Persuasion is very much character driven, but I connected more immediately with the "cast" of the latter novel. (It doesn't hurt that Greer is my exact age and we have very similar sensibilities.)
Wolitzer reminds the reader that we can still learn a lot from previous generations of feminists while picking up the loose threads left hanging by earlier "versions" of the movement (race, class, and sexual orientation come to mind). The Female Persuasion is very much a portrait of a white, straight, middle-class feminist, of whom we have a surplus in popular culture; the difference here is that Greer is continually aware of her privilege and works that much harder to support other women because of it.
Much like the commenter below, I had trouble immersing myself in this book. It took me about 75/100 pages to really feel connected to the characters. That being said, once I had eased in, I really enjoyed it. The books is about so many things - family, friendships, feminism ... and mostly, how our actions can affect others, spinning their lives off into a different direction. I appreciated that the author wrote from the perspectives of a variety of characters, allowing you to understand even those we would see as an antagonist.
I was having trouble getting into this book but then I realized something about it that was getting in the way of my enjoying it. I kept thinking it was supposed to be about the new wave of feminism, the me too movement. When I let that idea go I realized it was a very well written human interest story about finding out what we may really want out of life. And how sometimes circumstances in life make that decision for us.
The author Meg Wolitzer can write the heck out of words. She has a talent for creating convincing characters with all the flaws and strengths we all possess.
It was an OK story but if feels as if it's only there to plug in every type of feminist and anti-feminist, which she manages to do quite well.
The personal is made political for college student Greer Kadetsky one night when she stands up to ask a question, to make her voice heard, to join the fight for fairness and equality. Encouraged by her idol to pursue a life defending these principles, Greer discovers the difficulties and compromises required of even the most dedicated idealist. Wolitzer’s novel presents sympathetic and all-too-human characters battling to do the best they can while staying true to themselves and to those they love.
Just a normal story or a normal female and how she found her outside voice. It was okay storytelling but a boring story.
No passion, the characters were stiff, and the story dragged on and on.
I wanted to like this story, and parts of it I did but, for me, it didn't have the depth of a good literary novel nor the peaks of a gripping story. The telling of Greer's various times in her life, her relationships, successes and failures seems a mild slice of life.