The Female Persuasion
By Meg Wolitzer
Riverhead Books, 9781594488405, April 3, 2018, 464pp.
The Short of It:
I love it when a book makes you feel things.
The Rest of It:
Greer Kadetsky is young and smart and vibrant but she’s resentful because of a mistake her parents made with her financial aid forms. Instead of Yale, she ends up at another university where her boyfriend is not. This separation isolates her and makes it difficult to fit in. One night, she meets a guy who takes advantage of her, and it occurs to her that men like him exist for the sole purpose of treating women like objects, taking what they believe to be rightfully theirs.
In protest, she attends a feminist rally while wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with this loser’s face. Faith Frank is in attendance and Greer is in awe. Faith is older, more refined and brilliant. Her passion while speaking stretches to the back of the room and Greer is changed forever. Completely smitten by Faith, Greer is ecstatic when she is offered an entry-level position with Faith’s magazine.
The Female Persuasion is mostly about Greer and her evolution as a woman fighting for women’s rights but there are some other characters who occupy space in this novel. For one, Greer’s boyfriend, who suffers a devastating loss that changes him in ways that Greer never imagined. Faith’s fight for funding and her endless pursuit of elevating women’s rights is tarnished by one, not-so-slight oversight. Greer’s closest friend Zee, is betrayed by Greer which is so ironic given the circumstances and what Greer does for a living.
This is a large, impressive read. I found myself re-reading passages because some of them beg to be re-read, digested and pondered. When I turned to that last page, I felt deeply satisfied with the story’s ending but also somewhat uneasy about the state of the world we live in. A little sick, really.
I think men will shy away from a book like this but there’s something in it for them too if they give it a chance.
Get a copy and read it.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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