Book Review by Arlene.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it for any woman to read.
I felt it was spot on in creating a story line and characters that it represented the time period of the early sixties and beyond when women’s lib (as it was called then) took off and there was no looking back. The Women’s Movement was established.
It seemed, at that time, there were basically 2 choices for young women graduating high school….continue onto college, graduate and try to establish a career choice mostly being becoming a teacher, nurse or go into the business world and become a secretary in a large corporation and try to work your way up the corporate ladder, or the other choice which many young women chose was get married within 2 to 4 years after graduating high school and have a family.
After a time those young women who decided to stay home and raise their family began to feel like they were really missing something wonderful by not working outside the home. They began to feel restless and unfulfilled and gradually in the early seventies and beyond more and more women were leaving the care of their children to day care or family members. Their husbands would just have to get used to it!!!! Some did and then others didn’t and the divorce rate began to rise and rise and women were becoming successful and a lot of marriages were threatened by that.
Young women were becoming influenced in the thought process of a woman does not need a man to be happy or fulfilled. She can pursue an education and get a degree in business, medicine, law or in anything she wanted to do. Women put off marrying and having a family until much later in life.
Women were being influenced by popular women writers who were writing books and articles in magazines about the movement. Young women in college were listening to women who lectured at their schools about the movement and how they could become involved and that is where this book begins.
The central character of the book who represented being a very successful woman in business who owned her own company seemed like someone the central characters of the book wanted to imitate in their own lives. They were moving away from what had been the traditional path of life for young women before them.
It was really an exciting, confusing and, I believe, a bit frightening for young and older women alike wondering what would be the right path for them.
Young women who chose the traditional life of marrying and having a family come first were universally looked up by other women as maybe boring and not understanding how really smart you had to be to run a home and family and at the same time nurture their relationships with their husband and keep their marriage happy.
I believe, at the same time, men began to feel the same way about their wives being boring or unattractive compared to the young women entering the work force at that time and took their wives for granted and did not appreciate them or love them any longer.
Women began to doubt their own worth…..so there began the time when the divorce rates went up, marriages were falling apart, men and women were having a difficult time adapting to all the changes taking place around them. Women went back to work, kids went to day care or pre-school, men all of a sudden had to help out and they resented it but the women forged ahead and kept moving ahead…there was no looking back now.
The young women in The Female Persuasion were the ones who became enamored with these successful women and one of these women is the central character who drives this story. They loved and admired her courage and success and wanted to be just like her, work for and with her in her company.
At the same time, these young women had their own love interests, and their own family situations to deal with.
They listened to her talk at their college and they were hooked. She was the one who could help them and lead the way for them to be just like her.
Of course, as the balance of life moves forward they become their own women in their own right. Relationships change with their friends,their families and their relationships with their boyfriends and or life partners. As it is life, time does not stand still….life, jobs, families, friendships, relationships, marriages change. There are good time, bad times, tragedies, deaths. All of the life events are in this book and held my interest in wanting to keep reading.
I feel The Female Persuasion came full circle. Starting in the early sixties until present time and brought these young women and the woman who had the tremendous impact on their lives forward to the understanding, in my opinion, that no life is perfect, not even the people you might admire, and wish to be like. You soon learn everyone has something!!!
The Female Persuasion delves into and delivers interesting characters, life situations, great story lines for all the main characters and situations that are presented throughout the book.
Women were confused wondering ….who am I? Who am I supposed to be? I am a woman, a wife, a mother…is that enough? I have the talent and skills, I can contribute to the world outside the home, have my own career, make my own money.
Interestingly, as many years went by, the tide began to change again. The women who were out in workplace began to feel…what am I missing? My family is growing so fast I want to be there…is this job, career all worth it???? Women began wanting what they gave up. And wanted to stay home. Choices began to change again….
The Circle Of Life. It all went around and came back around again.
I feel Meg Wolitzer intelligently weaved a great book about how women influence each other, loyalty among friends, how ambition can drive us and how women, as they age, can decide for themselves who they admire and why.
This book was compelling on many levels. I recommend it highly.
I am glad I lived during the beginning of this time in our history. I got to experience it.The turning points in the lives of women from the very beginnings of the women’s movement.
I saw it evolve. I got to stay home with my kids then venture out into the work world.
It always makes me smile to myself on how stay at home moms were not considered “working moms’ until the “working moms” wanted to leave their jobs and stay home with their kids.
It’s all work no matter how you look at it.
How wonderful it is today when all women whether they have careers outside the home or are stay at home moms are admired and respected by each other!!!!
If you choose to read this book, I hope you can appreciate the story and the history tied to it.