HEARTWOMEN: An Urban Feminist's Odyssey Home by Sandy Boucher

HEARTWOMEN: An Urban Feminist's Odyssey Home

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Sandy Boucher traveled through the Kansas-Missouri-Nebraska border area, talking to local women in a search for her own, abandoned (Columbus, Ohio) Midwestern roots. She did achieve self-acceptance--but the book falls apart in the middle. Boucher's interviews with farm and small-town women give brief, sharp, sometimes affecting glimpses of Midwestern rural life. Says Kansan Madeline Lambert: ""On my income tax . . . I just put farmer. If I'm going to go out and work with him I think I am a farmer."" And nearby Ruth Chaplin: ""There are a lot of things you can do if you have money and a car . . . and good women friends. You can have a lot of fun with the girls."" But when Boucher goes on to interview the obligatory black and native American representatives, the book loses coherence. (Of her unenlightening talks with Potawatomi women, she says rightly: ""Silence would have been more appropriate than my questions."") The conversations with city women, in turn, completely scatter any threads left--and find Boucher trying to compensate with inflated prose and sloppy feminist sentimentality: ""She stacks some more plates in the dishwasher. . . cramming the tray with a great bulging pile that grows more precarious with each saucer. I feel this as a physical demonstration of her ability to juggle . . . the mountain of tasks she has performed."" Solemn, lightweight, and uneven.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1982
Publisher: Harper & Row