Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)
Greer Kadetsky is a college freshman when she meets the woman who will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others. Hearing Faith speak for the first time, in a crowded campus chapel, Greer feels her inner world light up. She and Cory, her high school boyfriend, have both been hardworking and ambitious, jokingly referred to as “twin rocket ships,” headed up and up and up. Yet for so long Greer has been full of longing, in search of a purpose she can’t quite name. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites her to make something out her new sense of awakening. Over time, Faith leads Greer along the most exciting and rewarding path of her life, as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory, and the future she’d always imagined. As Cory’s path, too, is altered in ways that feel beyond his control, both of them are asked to reckon with what they really want. What does it mean to be powerful? How do people measure their impact upon the world, and upon one another? Does all of this look different for men than it does for women?
With humor, wisdom, and profound intelligence, Meg Wolitzer weaves insights about power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition into a moving story that looks at the romantic ideals we pursue deep into adulthood: ideals relating not just to whom we want to be with, but who we want to be. At its heart, The Female Persuasion is about the select figures and experiences that shape our lives. It’s about the people who guide and the people who follow – and how those roles evolve over time. And it acknowledges the flame we all want to believe is flickering inside of us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time.
I’d like to introduce you to what is guaranteed to be one of my favorite reads of 2018: The Female Persuasion. This book spoke to my soul – it is so clearly written by an intelligent person, about an intelligent person, and for intelligent readers. It’s so easy for me to identify with Greer’s intense desire to do something and vague knowledge of the kind of thing she would like to do, but to be a bit lost when it comes to exactly how to put that ferocity into action.
This is a book for people who love books. Wolitzer perfectly captures the special place that the world of reading holds in some of our hearts. The way the presence of books can be as important as that of a loved one. The way books can save people.
Each of the characters in this book is at once incredibly specific and, at the same time, emblematic of someone we all know. They’re like archetypes who have been brought to life, given blood and breath, and yet still are recognizable.
Reading this book was a form of therapy for me. At first, I was simply finding relief in having someone else say aloud the things that plague me about the state of our country and the status of women. It wasn’t changing the situation, but acknowledging that things are the way they are was helpful for me in and of itself. Later, I found I needed to hear some of the things the characters were saying about life and how to live it. It’s like Wolitzer knew me and what I needed to hear, more so than I knew myself.
I think this book found me at the exact right time. I hope it finds you when you need it (if you need it) too.