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
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Female Persuasion Reviews

  • Olive (abookolive)

    I doubted I'd ever be someone who had "favorite authors," but this settles it. Meg Wolitzer is at the top of that list.

  • Elyse Walters

    Audiobook ....read by Rebecca Lowman.....[ one of my very favorite voice narrators]

    The Audiobook is over 14 hours long - but the more we get to know Greer Kadetsky and Faith Frank....Cory and Zee.....the more I wanted to continue hanging out for this party ride.

    About half way into it - I learned that Nicole Kidman was going to be playing Faith Frank, and I couldn’t help but begin visualizing her in the role. I think she will be great.

    There was so much to enjoy! The characters and dialogues wer

    Audiobook ....read by Rebecca Lowman.....[ one of my very favorite voice narrators]

    The Audiobook is over 14 hours long - but the more we get to know Greer Kadetsky and Faith Frank....Cory and Zee.....the more I wanted to continue hanging out for this party ride.

    About half way into it - I learned that Nicole Kidman was going to be playing Faith Frank, and I couldn’t help but begin visualizing her in the role. I think she will be great.

    There was so much to enjoy! The characters and dialogues were my favorite parts of this book. I liked the relationships - some funny stories ( go-go dancing in Vegas girls?).....etc.

    I also loved the whole college atmosphere—and the background stories of the college kids and their families.

    I even enjoy the lessons & reminders about Individualism and Sisterhood coming together....and supporting one another. I loved the parts about modern feminism. Women have so much more freedom today — but if we separate from each other - isolate - are in competition- it could look like we don’t need each other....but nothing could be further from the truth.

    Great writing...BRILLIANT writing....VERY ENJOYABLE as an AUDIOBOOK.....funny - warm - compassionate- empowering - inspiring.

    I loved this book and everything it represents!

  • Carol (Bookaria)

    The Female Persuasion is a novel about women, sisterhood, family, ambition, and ideals. More than a book it is also a depiction of what feminism means, what it was like decades ago and how it has evolved. Of course, we learn this from the point of view of the characters limited by their circumstances.

    The story is narrated from different points of view but the character we spent the most time with is Greer Kadetsky. We follow her beginnings as a teenager all the way to adulthood. Her search for

    The Female Persuasion is a novel about women, sisterhood, family, ambition, and ideals. More than a book it is also a depiction of what feminism means, what it was like decades ago and how it has evolved. Of course, we learn this from the point of view of the characters limited by their circumstances.

    The story is narrated from different points of view but the character we spent the most time with is Greer Kadetsky. We follow her beginnings as a teenager all the way to adulthood. Her search for meaningful work and the disappointments she encounters along the way.

    The point at which Greer's life changes is when she meets Faith Frank and becomes inspired by her speech and ideals. A few years later, Greer starts working with Faith and, I would say, this is where the novel became interesting to me.

    Overall, this is a well-written novel with engaging characters and backstories. I enjoyed it and recommend it to readers of contemporary fiction.

  • Esil

    4 idiosyncratic enthusiastic stars!

    The Female Persuasion is one of those novels that felt flawed, but that I still really enjoyed reading. This is the third novel I’ve read by Meg Wolitzer. She writes dense stories. She portrays characters that are not particularly likeable or sympathetic. She engages with complicated contemporary political and social issues. It doesn’t all come together perfectly, but I always feel like she gives me a lot of food for thought.

    The Female Persuasion focuses primar

    4 idiosyncratic enthusiastic stars!

    The Female Persuasion is one of those novels that felt flawed, but that I still really enjoyed reading. This is the third novel I’ve read by Meg Wolitzer. She writes dense stories. She portrays characters that are not particularly likeable or sympathetic. She engages with complicated contemporary political and social issues. It doesn’t all come together perfectly, but I always feel like she gives me a lot of food for thought.

    The Female Persuasion focuses primarily on Greer, from adolescence to her late 20s. She is very bright and driven, but somewhat rudderless given her aloof parents. She ends up being very drawn to an older well known feminist — Faith Frank — seeking to get meaning out of working for Frank’s foundation. There are a few other characters who play a big role in Greer’s life — a long term boyfriend, a best friend and Frank’s onetime lover who funds the foundation. The book grapples with issues such as how to live a politically meaningful life, the intersection between the political and the personal, and the relationship between different generations of feminists. There are no answers or messages — although there are many moments of interesting reflection.

    I suspect that The Female Persuasion won’t work for readers looking for a crisp story or clear meaning. But I really liked it, even in all of its dense messiness.

    Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for giving me access to an advance copy.

  • 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.

  • Carol
  • Emily May

    is a novel with little story and a lot of ideas, none of them particularly new ones.

    It stands out for being an overview of the white feminist experience during the nineties and early 21st century. Because, though it may feel like one must, I actually don't think a book like this existed before. Or, at least, not in mainstream literature.

    So I can see some value in it, but I just didn't enjoy this anywhere near as much as I thought I would. Or find any new ideas or inspirat

    is a novel with little story and a lot of ideas, none of them particularly new ones.

    It stands out for being an overview of the white feminist experience during the nineties and early 21st century. Because, though it may feel like one must, I actually don't think a book like this existed before. Or, at least, not in mainstream literature.

    So I can see some value in it, but I just didn't enjoy this anywhere near as much as I thought I would. Or find any new ideas or inspiration in its pages. I can picture, many years from now, students sat in a classroom and analyzing this book for its historical context, as a book that covers a broad range of feminist issues that are relevant to people today. Wolitzer has captured the recent history of feminism, in breadth more than depth, showcasing discussions on everything from abortion rights to the wage gap, and from porn to rape culture.

    It all begins on a college campus where the shy Greer Kadetsky attends a talk by influential feminist, Faith Frank. Faith heads a foundation called Loci, which sponsors feminist conferences, and during her talk, Greer asks a question relating to her own assault. This triggers a number of events leading to Faith offering Greer a career opportunity. Alongside this, there is also the story of the relationship between Greer and Cory.

    It seems that the book attempts to bridge the gap between second and third wave feminists, and between Gen X and Gen Y-ers (Millennials), and yet I don't think it does this very well. Faith Frank is part of an antiquated, predominantly-white feminism, which is acknowledged and then kind of brushed aside. Despite obvious attempts to be self-aware and point out privilege,

    never quite becomes intersectional in its feminism. It definitely doesn't help that every character with more than a brief mention is cisgender and white, aside from the Portuguese Cory.

    It is a long book with very little story to justify its length. It felt like lots of conversations were had between the characters but, other than offering a platform to discuss all the hot feminist topics, I didn't get the point of the story.

    Greer's shyness and anxiety interested me at first, but she quickly grew into a bland character who I didn't care for. Perhaps ironically, though perhaps not (who knows what irony is, anyway?), the guy character - Cory - was probably the most interesting character in this book.

    So, yes, I think this book gathers a lot of ideas together, but I don't think it adds anything to the discussions being had. I'm sure years from now this book will help future generations understand the conversations being had during our time about feminism and privilege, but right now it did very little for me. For such an acclaimed author, everything about this had a surprising lack of depth.

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  • Michael

    Simply put: it's a boring book. No real human insights beyond the lightly refreshing sparkling zinfandel struggles of rich white people.

    Cory was the only character that faced real problems and his story is totally sidelined, for the way-too-convenient success story of a young woman who's life falls into fantastically perfect place due to no real effort of her own.

    Dues ex machina all over the place. Reads like a dense literary Disney story. Suffers from the negative aspects of both dense literar

    Simply put: it's a boring book. No real human insights beyond the lightly refreshing sparkling zinfandel struggles of rich white people.

    Cory was the only character that faced real problems and his story is totally sidelined, for the way-too-convenient success story of a young woman who's life falls into fantastically perfect place due to no real effort of her own.

    Dues ex machina all over the place. Reads like a dense literary Disney story. Suffers from the negative aspects of both dense literary stories, and Disney stories at the same time. Surprisingly.

  • Jai

    A book about ideas that is too afraid to pursue those ideas or a book about characters without interesting characters.

    takes the promising premise of looking at the relationship between a prominent second-wave feminist and her guidance of a younger woman coming into her own in modern times. However, the book never really pins down what it wants to say. Feminism is the large topic hanging over all proceedings of this novel, but it never wants to explore any aspect of feminis

    A book about ideas that is too afraid to pursue those ideas or a book about characters without interesting characters.

    takes the promising premise of looking at the relationship between a prominent second-wave feminist and her guidance of a younger woman coming into her own in modern times. However, the book never really pins down what it wants to say. Feminism is the large topic hanging over all proceedings of this novel, but it never wants to explore any aspect of feminism outside of cursory surface-level ideas. Female autonomy, abortion rights, the pay gap, pornography, and internalized misogyny are named, but only so you know that the characters are talking about feminism. They never delve into these very real problems, almost as if the book doesn't want to scare off anyone who isn't intensely feminist.

    Which would be fine if

    worked as a character study, but it falters even in that. Greer Kadetsky, the young female taken under the wing of famous second-wave feminist, Faith Frank, is bland, uninspired, and lacks any strong ideas of her own. For a coming-of-age novel, this could work with Greer discovering her own voice and stepping out of the shadow of her friends and mentor, but she never does. In the end she remains as uninspired as she was at the beginning of the novel. Her privilege, in particular, is annoying. Greer hates her stoner parents and finds their jobs, as a house painter and a clown that performs at local libraries, to be beneath her. Yet, outside of an instance where she is sent to a less-than-Ivy-league school due to laziness from her father, her parents seem to at least provide for her, if not give her the freedom she so obviously desires. She vaguely forgives her clown mother at the end, but it's unearned and doesn't change Greer's feelings of privilege. Faith, for being touted as a great feminist, never showcases anything in the course of the story that makes her hailed as a prominent thinker. Greer's childhood sweetheart, Cory, seems to have his sexuality shaped by misogynist pornography, but this is brought up and never explored. Greer and Cory just have a relationship without sex becoming the problem that it should have become. Zee, Greer's best friend and the closest this novel has to a strong political voice, falls in the shadow of the other characters. Zee and Cory are the most interesting characters here, but the novel provides easy ways out for all characters, eliding any real development or tough decisions.

    The most frustrating part of all is that, for all the supposedly progressive and feminist ideas and themes present here,

    is terribly antiquated in its politics. I mentioned how ideas are never explored, but worse yet, they are actively ignored. Faith Frank and her foundation, the poorly named Loci (which the novel draws attention to but that only heightens how awkward it is), is mentioned to be under attack from more radical feminists for not being intersectional or being too privileged, which it is, but

    makes vague points that the foundation helps, which may be true, but it feels like it shrugging off any responsibility. It doesn't help that all the characters in the novel are uniformly upper-middle-class and, with the exception of the Portuguese Cory, white. Any character of color, or not cis-gendered, is briefly mentioned for a sentence and then never comes back again. They become tokenized in a story that should be about recognizing under-represented voices. Zee is a queer Jewish woman, but both of these factors feel forced and unimportant in the long run.

    The last 100 or so pages I started warming up to this novel, but then comes the last chapter in which everything gets wrapped up in a nice little bow and completely undermines any progress I was having. Trite, middle-of-the-road, and ultimately even a little offensive, this novel tries to put a finger on the pulse of contemporary issues, but remains too stuck in an idealized past.

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