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Real Life Since Feminism

by Meredith Maran

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-553-09952-3
Publisher: Bantam

 Essays from a still idealistic baby boomer on the legacies of feminism--and on battles yet to be won. Maran (What It's Like to Live Now, 1995), a bisexual freelance writer and business consultant, considers life since the emergence of second-wave feminism. In these engaging personal essays, Maran, who has been in a relationship with a woman, Ann, for ten years and is raising two sons, ponders motherhood--her relationship with her kids and with her own mother; the abortion she had when she was 20 and her current friendship with the man involved; and monogamy with her long-term lover. She mulls over the feminist implications of (sometimes) wanting a man, and of dieting. In one particularly thoughtful essay, attending the Gary Ramona trial--in which a Napa businessman sued his daughter's therapists for allegedly implanting false memories of sexual abuse in her mind--she considers the backlash against abuse memories in light of her complicated personal experiences; having once thought she was an incest survivor, she has now changed her mind but believes that Ann was sexually abused. That piece ends with a sinister, bizarre, yet wonderfully ambiguous encounter with Ramona himself. The essays are lucid and absorbing the way good magazine articles are, but sometimes one yearns for a little more depth. In an essay exploring the personal and political implications of not getting along with her feminist mother, she doesn't quite get at the trouble--what exactly is wrong with her mother, with their relationship? Do their common interests perhaps hurt rather than help? And sometimes her view of the world seems too simple, as when she wonders how a homemaker friend's lifestyle ``advances the cause of women'': Readers may well wonder--why should it? Highly readable and relevant--though superficial at points.