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I feel like the Wolitzer sat down and said, "Hmmmm. What's a current issue that needs addressing?" And decided on feminism. Not that I disagree. I totally agree. 15 years ago when I was teaching college freshman, in one of my classes, I asked the young women how many of them considered themselves feminists. Not one of them raised a hand. Their opinion of feminism was either negative or they thought it wasn't needed because women were already equal to men, there were no issues between men and women that needed fixing, and there was no need for it anymore. I was appalled and (rare for me) speechless. I wonder what those women think now in our current political climate and the MeToo Movement.
Unfortunately, despite good writing, this feels like a lecture on feminism that Wolitzer tried to make a story out of. The target audience seems to be white, privileged, college-aged girls who know nothing about feminism, what harassment is, what objectification is, etc., and know equally little about themselves.
There was one line about the "male gaze" that the main character initially thought was the "male gays." She actually had to listen to the conversation for a while before she understood it was "male gaze" and what that meant.
There is clearly an audience who probably needs this book, but I'm a few decades too old to be anything but annoyed at being lectured to and listening to a story about a clueless, white 18-yr-olds. This is probably unfair of me since I stopped at hour 3. Maybe it gets better. Maybe it turns out to be excellent. But having read Wolitzer's The Interestings (which was at least interesting) and spending most of that very long book annoyed at the mostly whiny, privileged, New Yorkers...I'm not going to finish a book that is not even interesting.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I loved this book’s subtlety. Its strength rests on the questions it refuses to answer. Can feminism overcome its generational differences? Are newer waves of feminist thought and action doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past? Is Faith Frank a sellout or a realist? I read several reviews of this book after finishing it and many of the reviewers seemed to fault it for its lack of a ham-fisted political message (and I’m not sure reviewer from Jezebel even read the book at all). Wolitzer is an expert at world-building and character development. I felt deeply invested in the fates of Greer, Faith, Cory, and Zee, even though not a lot happened in terms of plot twists and drama. The narration was excellent, especially the rendering of Faith Frank. If you enjoyed THE INTERESTINGS you’ll get a lot out of THE FEMALE PERSUASION, just don’t expect it to make any grand revelations about feminism or contemporary politics.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful