The Female Persuasionby Published 03 Apr 2018
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From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings, an electric, multilayered novel about ambition, power, friendship, and mentorship, and the romantic ideals we all follow deep into adulthood, 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.
"The Female Persuasion" Reviews
Thank you to Edelweiss for advanced copy.
I can't think of a book more anticipated for me than this new novel by Meg Wolitzer. I loved The Interestings so much and this was a worthy follow-up. I became absorbed into the world of Greer Kadetsky and didn't want to leave it. I loved the ending but was truly sad to get to it.
This delicious and compulsive read that feels like your first high school infatuation~
Remember when you first love - romantic or respect - which you knew so intimately; better than they understood themselves?
That's what this book gives you - its exposed and unrelenting honest portrayal of its characters.
I couldn't put it down, and only was sad when it ended because I enjoyed the read beyond wanting a to see it all nicely tied up in the ending.
I think the story will connect with readers on multiple levels. It uniquely relates to shared experiences, but will be understood for vastly different reasons- that's a good book!
I have read a lot of books recently that concern themselves chiefly with the experience of being a woman in the modern world. While THE FEMALE PERSUASION seems to be about this as well, I'm also not quite sure what it's about exactly. I can tell you what all the pieces are--the complexity of female friendship, the joy and danger of female mentorship, what it means to do good--and yet I didn't finish this book feeling like I'd seen any new insight, felt a deep kinship with the characters, or seen my experience or the experiences of others I know reflected back at me.
Much of the book takes place around a setpiece of privileged women gathering, paying a ridiculous ticket price, listening to women deliver inspirational messages, with manicure stations and fancy food all around. The book knows this is not a good look, and yet I often felt like I was at an event like this while reading the book, it's all very nice but none of it feels real.
My own personal tastes certainly come into play here. When our protagonist finds herself at a perfectly standard liberal arts college, her disappointment that it isn't an ivy made me roll my eyes. When our protagonist moves to the big city fresh out of college with a dream job and an apartment without roommates, same. And when we discover early on that our protagonist will eventually become famous. And when a woman who comes from money encounters people who don't for the first time. And so on. It's often hard for me to read books about privileged people working hard to make the world a better place. And it's odd because our protagonist doesn't start out as privileged but she seems to ease into it so quickly.
My favorite section of the book was about one of the only male main characters and what happens when all those trappings are suddenly gone. His detachment from everyone around him, his motivations, his actions felt more real even if I didn't find myself fully transported to his point of view. I should add that I have read a few of Wolitzer's books and never really enjoyed them. I read this one because of its premise but I think she and I are just not a good fit. She doesn't seem to write the kind of stories I can lose myself in for whatever reason.
Right now I admit I set a higher standard for books about women and feminism. We have a lot of ground to cover, and I don't see the point in books that don't push us forward, ask new questions, bring us into new conversations. Most of us have long since moved past second wave feminism, but this book seems to be speaking to people who are still enamored with it. I would have liked to see something bolder, something that asks more questions about women's choices, but it seems Wolitzer isn't quite there yet.
A masterpiece. I loved this book for the characters and the issues and ideas explored. It's beautifully written and a work of true importance.
I have been a fan of Meg Wolitzer for many years, and after I read THE INTERESTINGS, I thought that of all the books of hers I’d read and loved, that one was my favorite...but then I read THE FEMALE PERSUASION. The book takes on big themes; and it is also a compelling, absolutely un-put-down-able read (454 pages and I read in two nights). The characters will teach you, and also stay with you.