THE FEMALE PERSUASION by Meg Wolitzer
Kirkus Star

THE FEMALE PERSUASION

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A decade in the life of a smart, earnest young woman trying to make her way in the world.

On Greer Kadetsky’s first weekend at Ryland College—a mediocre school she’s attending because her parents were too feckless to fill out Yale’s financial aid form—she gets groped at a frat party. This isn’t the life she was meant to lead: “You [need] to find a way to make your world dynamic,” she thinks. Then Greer meets Faith Frank, a second-wave feminist icon who’s come to speak at Ryland. During the question-and-answer period, Greer stands up to recount her assault and the college’s lackluster response, and, later, Faith gives her a business card. Like a magical amulet in a fairy tale, that card leads Greer to a whole new life: After graduation, she gets a job working for Faith’s foundation, Loci, which sponsors conferences about women’s issues. That might not be the most cutting-edge approach to feminism, Greer knows, but it will help her enter the conversation. Wolitzer (Belzhar, 2014, etc.) likes to entice readers with strings of appealing adjectives and juicy details: Faith is both “rich, sophisticated, knowledgeable” and “intense and serious and witty,” and she always wears a pair of sexy suede boots. It’s easy to fall in love with her, and with Greer, and with Greer’s boyfriend, Cory, and her best friend, Zee: They’re all deep, interesting characters who want to find ways to support themselves while doing good in the world and having meaningful, pleasurable lives. They have conversations about issues like “abortion rights, and the composition of the Senate, and about human trafficking”; they wrestle with the future of feminism, with racism and classism. None of them is perfect. “Likability has become an issue for women lately,” Greer tells an English professor while she’s still at Ryland, and Wolitzer has taken up the challenge. Her characters don’t always do the right thing, and though she has compassion for all of them, she’s ruthless about revealing their compromises and treacheries. This symphonic book feels both completely up-to-the-minute and also like a nod to 1970s feminist classics such as The Women’s Room, with a can't-put-it-down plot that illuminates both its characters and larger social issues.

The perfect feminist blockbuster for our times.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-59448-840-5
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2018




9 BOOK CLUB PICKS FOR APRIL :

NonfictionTHE FEATHER THIEF by Kirk Wallace Johnson
by Kirk Wallace Johnson
FictionEVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME by Natalia Sylvester
by Natalia Sylvester
NonfictionAIR TRAFFIC by Gregory Pardlo
by Gregory Pardlo
FictionTHE FEMALE PERSUASION by Meg Wolitzer
by Meg Wolitzer
NonfictionSHARP by Michelle Dean
by Michelle Dean
FictionTHE COMEDOWN by Rebekah Frumkin
by Rebekah Frumkin

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for THE SUN DOES SHINE
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for GUARDIANS OF THE TAIGA
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for WHAT TRUTH SOUNDS LIKE
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LULULEMONS
VERDICT:
BUY IT

MORE BY MEG WOLITZER

FictionTHE INTERESTINGS by Meg Wolitzer
by Meg Wolitzer
FictionTHE UNCOUPLING by Meg Wolitzer
by Meg Wolitzer
FictionTHE TEN YEAR NAP by Meg Wolitzer
by Meg Wolitzer

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionSORORITY by Genevieve Sly Crane
by Genevieve Sly Crane
FictionTHE BURNING GIRL by Claire Messud
by Claire Messud