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"Equal parts cotton candy and red meat, in the best way." –People
"Wolitzer’s social commentary can be as funny as it is queasily on target.” –Wall Street Journal
"Wolitzer is one of those rare writers who creates droll and entertaining novels of ideas." –Fresh Air, NPR
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Interestings, an electric novel not just about who we want to be with, but who we want to be.
To be admired by someone we admire - we all yearn for this: the private, electrifying pleasure of being singled out by someone of esteem. But sometimes it can also mean entry to a new kind of life, a bigger world.
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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By D. Miller on 05-03-18
Another reviewer called this book "strident." I would call it "preachy." I've been a feminist as long as the character Faith Frank and so wasn't fearful of the strident label as many feminists are called that even when they make a small polite peep of truth. This book, while truthful, is tedious and boring in its attempt to describe a history of how some leaders of the women's movement have tried to help women, with lots of information about feminist perspectives on women's issues. I haven't read anything else by this author but know that writers are supposed to "show" and not just "tell." There is too much telling, often in the thoughts of characters. For example, while it is true that the economy pushes women to spend too much money and time on beauty, a polemic about this in the thoughts of a character is not the stuff of fiction but rather non-fiction. And so on. In addition there is a tinge of sentimentality about it all that is hard to define but seems to have something to do with the narrative performance. That said, the best parts are about how the characters react and change according to what happens to them, especially Cory and Zee, but not especially Greer and Faith, who are burdened with thinking and speaking, but mostly thinking, feminist rhetoric.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
By NMwritergal on 04-07-18
Quitting 3 hours in and returning it
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.
55 of 66 people found this review helpful