A.D. by Kate Millett


A Memoir
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 Millett might have made this memoir into a gorgeous requiem for her longtime idol, her Aunt Dorothy, but in the end she reduces it to a tedious song for herself. The death of Millett's venerable and sophisticated aunt (jokingly referred to as A.D. by the author and her sisters) is the occasion for this indulgently digressive book. Bookish, young, and aspiring to greatness, Millett was for years infatuated with the wealthy, beautiful, and brilliant A.D. She desired her aunt romantically, loved everything about her, strove endlessly to please her, but then alienated her irredeemably by secretly taking a female lover to live with her when she went to study at Oxford. A.D. funded the education and forbade the lover, and when she uncovered her niece's deception, she never forgave her for the transgression or the lie. During their years of estrangement, Millett became an adult whom her aunt could never approve ofa lesbian, an artist, the author of controversial books (Sexual Politics, 1970, etc.). But she recognized the irony that these things never could have been possible without A.D.'s influence, mentorship, and money. Before the two ever make peace, A.D. dies alone in her giant house in Minneapolis, leaving Millett to cope on her own. A.D. is a tale of love, loss, and coming to terms that can move one to tears. But it can also make one howl in frustration, as A.D.'s story becomes a springboard for Millett to take measure of absolutely everything in her own life: her personal finances, the management of her women's art collective/Christmas tree farm, ruminations over lovers past, endless what-ifs. When Millett tells herself to finally ``let go'' in the book's closing lines, the reader is likely to concur.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-393-03524-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1995