The Female Persuasion

The Female Persuasion

Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women's movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer--madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but st...

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Title:The Female Persuasion
Author:Meg Wolitzer
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The Female Persuasion Reviews

  • Jillian Doherty

    This delicious and compulsive read that feels like your first high school infatuation~

    Remember when you first love - romantic or respect - which you knew so intimately; better than they understood themselves?

    That's what this book gives you - its exposed and unrelenting honest portrayal of its characters.

    I couldn't put it down, and only was sad when it ended because I enjoyed the read beyond wanting a to see it all nicely tied up in the ending.

    I think the story will connect with readers on mul

    This delicious and compulsive read that feels like your first high school infatuation~

    Remember when you first love - romantic or respect - which you knew so intimately; better than they understood themselves?

    That's what this book gives you - its exposed and unrelenting honest portrayal of its characters.

    I couldn't put it down, and only was sad when it ended because I enjoyed the read beyond wanting a to see it all nicely tied up in the ending.

    I think the story will connect with readers on multiple levels. It uniquely relates to shared experiences, but will be understood for vastly different reasons- that's a good book!

  • Lydia

    🙏🏻💓✨ every Meg Wolitzer book is a gift, and this may be my favorite yet. Incredibly timely, important, and exquisitely written. Add to your wish list now and tell all your friends, as you're going to want to talk about it with everyone you know

  • Susan Merrell

    I was lucky to have an early read of this funny, important and intelligent novel about what it means to be a human of the female persuasion in our complicated world. The characters here are compelling, their struggles are real, and Wolitzer's fundamental love of them is always in evidence. This novel manages to cover some of the most important issues of our day in all their complexity without ever sacrificing story--masterful and entertaining at the same time. I highly, highly recommend.

  • Holly

    A masterpiece. I loved this book for the characters and the issues and ideas explored. It's beautifully written and a work of true importance.

  • Jessica

    DAMMIT. As if I needed another reason to obsess over the state of the world, feminism, grief, etc, here comes this book and makes me sit and THINK about everything instead of happily escaping into the void of cute dog videos.

  • Ellen

    SO excited to get my hands on Advance Uncorrected Proofs of The Female Persuasion six months before its publication date—thank you, Goodreads insider SS ;)—and this is by far my favorite Meg Wolitzer novel. I typically race through her books, enjoying the characters and curious to know what will happen next; however, I end up rating most just 3 stars (“good”, not “great”). TFP is a solid 4, and is particularly relevant to the current climate in the US. Because this is such an early reading and r

    SO excited to get my hands on Advance Uncorrected Proofs of The Female Persuasion six months before its publication date—thank you, Goodreads insider SS ;)—and this is by far my favorite Meg Wolitzer novel. I typically race through her books, enjoying the characters and curious to know what will happen next; however, I end up rating most just 3 stars (“good”, not “great”). TFP is a solid 4, and is particularly relevant to the current climate in the US. Because this is such an early reading and review of the book, I will not include any plot spoilers.

    Wolitzer follows five characters—three women, two men—whose stories are intertwined, but she focuses mainly on Greer, a young woman we meet as she begins college in 2006, and whom we follow through young adulthood until present day. On a personal level, although I am much older, I could relate to Greer in so many ways, which is one reason the book kept me in thrall. Greer has a passion for literature and reading, she ponders many of the important questions intelligent women will grapple with in their lifetimes, she has strong ideas, struggles to speak out yet ultimately finds her voice, she is idealistic and wants to do good in the world, she can be naive about other people and their motives and character, she is outraged by unfairness, excited by Obama’s election and later, ignited by the Women’s March.

    Unsurprisingly, TFP is primarily about the female experience and its many facets: politics, power, oppression, subjugation, misogyny, friendship, betrayal, emotional support and withdrawal, ambition, efficiency, do-gooding. There are several threads that are particularly relevant to our current societal struggles, including reproductive rights and sexual assault, and from these emerge a larger theme of women as outsiders and how they can overcome this status. Perhaps most importantly, the story ends with a protagonist musing about the idea that not playing by the rules and setting your own terms can pay off for you (a reference to Trump and the world at large today) and that perhaps it is high time for women do the same thing—a clarion call to shift from perpetually pushing back against the adversity females experience to creating the terms without asking. The book ends on an ultimately inspiring (although not exactly cutting edge) note: we do not have much time to accomplish what we will, and people must keep replacing those who come before them in the quest to effect change and do good. Hilary and Obama have passed the torch. To whom, it remains to be seen.

    Additional strengths: amazing writing, with powerful similes and expert weaving of plot strands; satisfying closure; intriguing character arcs; accurate characterization of both a Teach-for-America-like program and the restlessness, boredom, brilliance and creativity of an ADHD brain.

    Weaknesses: I foresaw a few major story events occurring, which annoyed me, as I believe Wolitzer probably intended them to surprise or startle. Also, while satisfying, the novel’s conclusion, particularly with characters' relationships and careers, felt too nicely wrapped up.

  • Sarah

    Look, this book has minor flaws, but it's Wolitzer at top form. Everyone's going to be obsessed with it this spring, with reason. She's what Franzen wants to be imho: a detailed, provocative chronicler of the Way We Live Now. Enjoy it. Debate it. Relish it.

  • Gail

    I loved "The Interestings" with a passion that kept me up all night reading it, so I was eager to get my hands on Meg Wolitzer's latest work, given she's one of my favorite authors. Thanks to a gracious friend, I received an ARC and was able to read "The Female Persuasion" ahead of its April release.

    What I love so much about Wolitzer's writing is how fully she immerses you in the world of her characters. In this case, I was fully committed to "Persuasion"'s protagonist, Greer Kadetsky, a shy, bo

    I loved "The Interestings" with a passion that kept me up all night reading it, so I was eager to get my hands on Meg Wolitzer's latest work, given she's one of my favorite authors. Thanks to a gracious friend, I received an ARC and was able to read "The Female Persuasion" ahead of its April release.

    What I love so much about Wolitzer's writing is how fully she immerses you in the world of her characters. In this case, I was fully committed to "Persuasion"'s protagonist, Greer Kadetsky, a shy, bookish freshman at a mid-rate college whose chance encounter her freshman year with one of the country's most notable feminists, Faith Frank, changes the course of her life and becomes the crux of the plot. I loved the supporting characters too, especially Greer's Portuguese boyfriend, Cory (and his family), whose own story steals Greer's a bit; and Zee, her queer best friend.

    Like "The Interestings" became the year of its 2013 release, "Persuasion" is sure to be one of 2018's most buzzed-about reads. How can it not when its subject matter—feminism, misogyny, the "big terribleness" (how Wolitzer chooses to refer to Trump's presidency)—are all topics that are central to so many of the conversations so many of us are having these days?

    It's a novel that covers a great number of ideas and opinions and topics (and years) and while it's a bit messy and there are scenes that lean too heavy on description (well-written though that description is), overall it was another Wolitzer book I could not put down. It's also one that I very much look forward to recommending—and discussing—in the new year, particularly with my friends who are of the female persuasion.

    Passages I loved:

    Cory was reading a bulky book for his economics class; Greer was reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and underlining so often that some pages were entirely marked up.

    "What are you marking up?" he asked, curious.

    "Things that stir me," she said without self-consciousness.

    [...] Love ran through everything Greer read—love of language, love of character, love of the act of reading—just as it ran through everything that had to do with Cory. Books had saved Greer as a child, and then Cory had saved her again later on.

    :

    Greer wondered why Faith was giving her this gig. She remembered something Faith had said to the team once, early on: "Men give women the power that they themselves don't want."

    :

    Your twenties was a time when you still felt young, but the groundwork was being laid in a serious way, crisscrossing beneath the surface. It was being laid even while you slept. What you did, where you lived, who you loved, all of it was like pieces of track being put down in the middle of the night by stealth workers.

    There are some people who have such a strong effect on you, even if you've spent very little time with them, that they become

    inside you, and any hint of them, any casual mention, creates a sudden stir in you.

  • Jessica Woodbury

    I have read a lot of books recently that concern themselves chiefly with the experience of being a woman in the modern world. While THE FEMALE PERSUASION seems to be about this as well, I'm also not quite sure what it's about exactly. I can tell you what all the pieces are--the complexity of female friendship, the joy and danger of female mentorship, what it means to do good--and yet I didn't finish this book feeling like I'd seen any new insight, felt a deep kinship with the characters, or seen

    I have read a lot of books recently that concern themselves chiefly with the experience of being a woman in the modern world. While THE FEMALE PERSUASION seems to be about this as well, I'm also not quite sure what it's about exactly. I can tell you what all the pieces are--the complexity of female friendship, the joy and danger of female mentorship, what it means to do good--and yet I didn't finish this book feeling like I'd seen any new insight, felt a deep kinship with the characters, or seen my experience or the experiences of others I know reflected back at me.

    Much of the book takes place around a setpiece of privileged women gathering, paying a ridiculous ticket price, listening to women deliver inspirational messages, with manicure stations and fancy food all around. The book knows this is not a good look, and yet I often felt like I was at an event like this while reading the book, it's all very nice but none of it feels real.

    My own personal tastes certainly come into play here. When our protagonist finds herself at a perfectly standard liberal arts college, her disappointment that it isn't an ivy made me roll my eyes. When our protagonist moves to the big city fresh out of college with a dream job and an apartment without roommates, same. And when we discover early on that our protagonist will eventually become famous. And when a woman who comes from money encounters people who don't for the first time. And so on. It's often hard for me to read books about privileged people working hard to make the world a better place. And it's odd because our protagonist doesn't start out as privileged but she seems to ease into it so quickly.

    My favorite section of the book was about one of the only male main characters and what happens when all those trappings are suddenly gone. His detachment from everyone around him, his motivations, his actions felt more real even if I didn't find myself fully transported to his point of view. I should add that I have read a few of Wolitzer's books and never really enjoyed them. I read this one because of its premise but I think she and I are just not a good fit. She doesn't seem to write the kind of stories I can lose myself in for whatever reason.

    Right now I admit I set a higher standard for books about women and feminism. We have a lot of ground to cover, and I don't see the point in books that don't push us forward, ask new questions, bring us into new conversations. Most of us have long since moved past second wave feminism, but this book seems to be speaking to people who are still enamored with it. I would have liked to see something bolder, something that asks more questions about women's choices, but it seems Wolitzer isn't quite there yet.

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