REVIEW: THE FEMALE PERSUASION, BY MEG WOLITZER

 

Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer- madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place- feels her inner world light up. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she’d always imagined.

Charming and wise, knowing and witty, Meg Wolitzer delivers a novel about power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition. At its heart, The Female Persuasion is about the flame we all believe is flickering inside of us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time. It’s a story about the people who guide and the people who follow (and how those roles evolve over time), and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.

My Thoughts: From the moment I began reading The Female Persuasion, I was swept back in time. To coming-of-age moments; to growing up female in a time of misogyny; to the first stirrings of female empowerment in the Second Wave Feminist movement in the 1970s; and then to the rise of the “Me-Too” movement in the present-day world of chaos…all of these moments in our lives as females could trigger that “click” we all have heard at one time or another. A recognition of the unfairness of it all. A knowledge that the war is not over. Battles have been won along the way, but we have not won the war.

The characters who so eloquently illustrated these moments and reminded me of my own were like real-life people. Greer, with her shy voice, who learned to use her “outside voice,” would struggle, would find her mentor along the way in Faith Frank, a woman who could have been a slightly younger version of Gloria Steinem, and would stand up and ultimately shout out in her own louder voice. A college case of sexual harassment would start Greer on her journey, and even as she struggled along the way, she kept picking herself up and continuing to use her voice.

The story took us back and forth in time, from Faith’s beginnings as a young woman to Greer in her thirties, finally using her voice for good despite whatever challenges she faced.

Near the end of the book, we find this section that illustrates the journey, as the characters celebrate Greer’s novel: “One full year that seemed to put a thumb in the eye of the big terribleness (referring to the return of sexual harassment in a big and noticeable way). The book, certainly not the first of its kind, was a lively and positive-leaning manifesto encouraging women not to be afraid to speak up…”

By the final page, I wanted the story to continue. I wanted to shout out at the victories, but often felt discouraged by all that remained the same. Definitely a 5 star read for me.

 ***
Advertisements

10 thoughts on “REVIEW: THE FEMALE PERSUASION, BY MEG WOLITZER

  1. I loved your review, Laurel! And as you know, I loved this book. I’m not old enough to remember when second-wave feminism began since I was born in 1977, but I certainly have experienced my share of misogyny and sexual harassment both while in college and in the workplace. This book felt like a journey for me while I was reading it; I could feel myself in Greer’s place at times, and I think the book has such a powerful message.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Stephanie, I’m glad you enjoyed the review…and the book, too, of course. You are close to my daughter’s age, and she is my youngest child, so I’ve seen that part of the journey through her. I hope I’ve been a role model for her, but she hasn’t taken up the “mantle” of feminism. Maybe I was too militant for a while. LOL

      I loved the way the book took me back to those moments in the past when we were marching and fighting for equality. (The war is not won yet, unfortunately!).

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Laurel. It has definitely been a journey, and I hope that by the time my daughter is an adult (she will be 8 next month) that we’ve achieved equality. I’ve never really called myself a feminist until the past few years since I always related it to bra burning, man hating, etc, but I realized that I can be feminist without all those connotations. My mom was definitely not a feminist and didn’t work outside the home when I was growing up because she thought her place was in the home until she and my dad divorced. I was always told by my grandmothers to marry a man who could afford to take care of me so I wouldn’t have to work, so they were deeply entrenched in the patriarchy of society. My parents were horrified that I attended one of the Women’s Marches, so that tells you a lot, lol. Oh well, it takes all of us working together to achieve the goal, and I think some day we will get there.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you liked this one Laurel and that Meg Wolitzer came through. I’m on the wait list for it. A novel about feminism is so timely right now (again)! MeToo !

    Liked by 1 person

Please leave your thoughts. Comments, not awards, feed my soul. Thanks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.