BIOGRAPHY

The Soul of a Woman

Ballantine. Mar. 2021. 160p. ISBN 9780593355626. $22. MEMOIR
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Having written about her turbulent life in three previous memoirs (Paula, My InventedCountry, and The Sum of Our Days), Chilean-born author Allende takes a more concise approach in her newest nonfiction work. While still touching on various high and low points of her life (her youthful clashes against patriarchal mindsets; her literary career; her friendships, marriages, and children), she skims past personal history in favor of giving greater space to her wider reflections on feminism, aging, marriage and sex, and zeal for work and life. Allende also considers the influence of her grandfather, who insisted she stay quiet and tend to her family. Though her discussion of current issues occasionally missteps, such as her efforts to define gender neutrality, Allende’s fervor for the importance of equality and opportunity for women makes for an overall energizing read.
VERDICT Those looking for in-depth stories of Allende’s earlier life will need to turn to her earlier works, but this passionate memoir presents a vibrant portrait of the current-day author and her thoughts on the future of women, and will be highly appreciated by fans of her works.

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