BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: Young Women in Crisis by Linda Gray Sexton

BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: Young Women in Crisis

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Fifteen women tell of the rough times they've had on the liberation road. All born between 1945 and 1955, they are white, college-educated, middle and upper class, now living in either Massachusetts or New York. That's what they have in common. Yet Linda Sexton thinks their experiences (along with those of 15 others interviewed) reflect those of a generation of women raised believing ""you could have it all,"" now discovering the hard truth that choices have to be made. Sexton finds a new feminist mystique taking over from the earlier feminine mystique, but combining with it to create four types: those women who marry early, those who wait (win or lose), the mavericks, and the self-made women. Given the sample size and method(?) of selection, this categorization seems arbitrary at best. Some of the stories, however, provide interesting reading (theoretical pretensions aside). There's Hallie Parrish, poor little rich girl who decides not to have a marriage like her parents', finds herself similarly hitched at 20. Everything's fine (they train horses and entertain), Until hubby takes a job in New York and she's alone on the East Side with nothing to do but decorate Divorce, back to school, a new man (natch), a new line: ""Women got sold a bill of goods. . . Men knew that working was shit from day one."" Contrast her story with that of Amy Wheeler, born into a poor Idaho family. At age three it's her job to do the laundry and take care of baby. At age five she suffers through her parents' divorce and mother's remarriage. Home becomes a prison; Amy is beaten often and soundly. She goes back to her divorced daddy, who decides she's promiscuous (age 14). She tries to prove it (age 16); she gets pregnant and married (age 17), and in a couple of years, divorced. But she's also putting herself through high school, advancing from secretary to marketing assistant at work. More hard knocks, but Amy leaves Idaho, hustles a marketing job in San Francisco, puts herself through college (age 26), lands an $18,000 job in Chicago, now earns $40,000 in New York (age 28). What do Hallie and Amy have in common? ""To choose is to live"" concludes Sexton. Now we know.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1979
Publisher: Morrow