Updated: Apr 14, 2020
I’m sure you have all heard about this book one way or another. It was all over social media last year when it came out, what an iconic book cover and title right? Sort of has a timeless feel to it by just looking at the cover. A lot of my book blogger friends have all read this book and I’ve heard mostly great reviews about it, it also was on everyone’s favorite books from 2018 so I had to finally get my hands on this read and see what the hype was all about. Fun fact, this book is being turned into a movie starring Nicole Kidman which is pretty cool. Also, Meg Wolitzer’s book The Wife was recently turned into a movie starring Glenn Close which was nominated for an Oscar last year, so she’s definitely an author to watch out for!
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer is about womanhood, identity, female friendship, power, loyalty, ambition and influence. It centers mostly from one main character named Greer Kadetzky. Surrounding her are three other characters, Zee, her college best friend, Cory, her long time high school sweetheart and Faith Frank, her mentor. We follow Greer from her adolescent high school years to college where she meets Zee, and they soon become close friends. During college, a famous feminist figure, Faith Frank (cool name huh?) comes to the school to give a talk and Greer and Zee attend the event. Immediately, Greer is completely mesmerized by the elegant and fearless Faith Frank and what she stands for. She is a strong feminist who inspires all women to stand up for their rights and is a strong pillar for women’s movement for decades. After meeting Faith, Greer is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity, to work under the watchful eye of Faith Frank and find her purpose in life, to which Greer is overjoyed about. Taking this job means that she is farther away emotionally and physically from her long time love, Cory. Which leaves Greer to make some pretty big decisions in her life. We follow Greer on this life altering journey and into the bold person that she now has been transformed into. It’s a book about following your aspirations, your journey through life, and figuring out what those aspirations are.
I have to say, I found this book to be more of a coming of age story than it was a political, or feminist story. We mostly followed Greer from adolescence and into adulthood, which was great because you saw her transform into a totally different person right before your eyes. I also like that the book was very character driven and it had quite a few interesting characters in it. The character of Faith Frank was a funny one for me, because part of me was blown away by her, but then another part of me didn’t like her very much. Maybe it’s because she habituates and works in the privileged feminist world and I was expecting more of a punchier story and character. I also felt that the book had a lot of themes going on and didn’t necessarily have a crisp & clear main theme, so I did find that sort of confusing as it was not what I was expecting from the story. I was expecting more depth especially from the character of Faith Frank. She mostly highlighted feminism from white women’s perspective in the early nineties and the early 21st century, but no later than that. That’s not to say that she didn’t bring up many interesting points, she did, she brought issues such as abortion rights, the wage gap, rape culture, and more...but beyond that it lacked that grit that I was waiting for.
I did although enjoy reading the story itself and found it very engaging. It’s a pretty big book at 454 pages so you really get a great outline of each character and their story which was cool. It’s also a very easy to read book, you literary whiz right through the pages and Meg Wolitzrer is a good writer. Funny enough, out of all the characters, the male character, Cory, was my favorite one. I found his story much more interesting, raw and real than the rest of the women, which I was not expecting. Faith Frank was great, and has that appeal that you’d want in a mentor, but she doesn’t really push the boundaries in feminism as much as I would have liked. She’s too privileged. Same with Greer. Yes she was a sweet and shy character that blossomed into a great woman, but in the end, I felt detached from her too. The fact that she was whining about not being able to go to Princeton kind of annoyed me. Privileged. Then her friend Zee’s character was so/so. So yeah, all in all it was mostly a good story, with a touch of feminist ideology.
I would recommend this book if your after a good story that has to do with following your ambitions in life, and also has strong female characters. It was somewhat inspiring, but for me it was more of a coming of age story than a feminist read. The feminist parts of the story just never felt real to me, it was all too privileged. It was a flawed book but I still enjoyed reading it! It’s one of those books that I will remember for years to come. It’s also a good book to sort of get lost in. I liked it.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Feminism, Literary Fiction.
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Reviewed by Chrissy's Books
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