A passionate plea for women to put some political muscle behind the issues that matter most to what she views as feminism's...

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FRUITFUL: A Real Mother in the Modern World

A passionate plea for women to put some political muscle behind the issues that matter most to what she views as feminism's most neglected cohort: mothers. Families are good, so are most men; quality day care is imperative, as is community support, the kind that understands that being a parent is tough, challenging work, says Roiphe. And there is no incompatibility between being a feminist and being a mother, except the artificial conflict created by angry pioneers in the women's movement. Roiphe (If You Knew Me, 1993, etc.) was one of those pioneers, a single mother whose consciousness was raised and whose novel Up the Sandbox (1970) was a protest manual for women trapped in bad marriages and boring playgrounds. Now long remarried and mother to several grown daughters, she calls on both personal experience--some of it intensely painful--and years of rethinking feminist stances to argue that men are not beasts nor are women saints. If God is a she, Roiphe notes, ""isn't it also probable that the Devil has her feminine wiles?"" She even takes on feminist icon Sylvia Plath, saying she is ""neither heroic nor romantic. She is pathetic."" Roiphe further takes feminists to task for painting themselves into a ""pro-death"" corner on the question of abortion rights (which she supports). Although tinged with the angst of Greek tragedy, the landscape of emotions called forth in women who are or want to be mothers--from guilt to pride, terror to transcendence, confusion to confidence--is captured with the skill of one who's been there. Roiphe calls for society in general, and feminism in particular, to readjust the political scales, adding more weight on behalf of planning and raising families, with more help for mothers, fathers, and children. Likely to cause a buzz both in feminist circles and among mothers at the playground--and Roiphe doesn't see them as mutually exclusive.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996