THE WOMEN'S ROOM by Marilyn French
Kirkus Star


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Destined for a TV series, this marathon Lib seminar-cum-soaper pops on about the plight of women as victims in contemporary society--particularly those of middle years. Like Mira, who's been bred and buttered-up to the ""shit-and-string-beans"" treadmill of suburban marriage and motherhood. In first and third person, we study Mira's childhood, sexual awakening, disillusions, early marriage, childbearing, the move to the golden suburbs for days of little kids and new friends: ""the lazy life. . . it went nowhere. . . they had not been chosen but had been automatically slotted into their lives."" But the lazy life also means the drift toward divorce, affairs, the bottle, psychic batterings, even attempted suicide--and the rumination: ""You think I hate men. . . . I guess I do."" So Mira is divorced by dull Norm, and life begins at 38--at Harvard's graduate school, where she meets a group of fiercely-speaking-out, feverishly-living women, including big Val, doomed to be shot to death in a Lib protest demonstration. In the process of hoisting her consciousness, Mira falls in love with nice and successfully sexy Ben and brings her sons closer by her honest expression of Feelings, but she does NOT Want A Child by Ben--so finis and goodbye. Throughout, the women talk out relationships with men, children, and each other in that heavy sweating-out, hanging-out jargon that's long since lost the bloom, complete with aggrieved, savage humor (on exclusion from male libraries and dining rooms: ""the real reason is sanitary. . . Splat Splat a big clot of menstrual blood right on the threshold""). Awful things happen to everyone, and the gut-wrenchers roll on like the toilet tissue in the TV commercials--but this time the women squeeze the bejeezus out of Mr. Whipple.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1977
ISBN: 0143114506
Publisher: Summit/Simon & Schuster