The Female Persuasion

Books on Tape. Apr. 2018. 15 hrs. ISBN 9780525528180. $45. digital download. F
Greer’s best friend Zee is an activist and outspoken feminist, the opposite of Greer, who is shy and unsure of herself. When Zee invites Greer to a lecture by feminist icon Faith Franks at Ryland College, she doesn’t expect it to change her life. Faith becomes Greer’s mentor, hiring her after graduation to help run the nonprofit arm of a large firm run by a morally shaky man from Faith’s past. Meanwhile, Greer and Cory have been together since high school, maintaining a long-distance relationship, when tragedy strikes Cory’s family in a profound way. While the novel ostensibly centers on the struggles and history of white feminism in the United States, ultimately it is about people’s relationships and working through the hurtful things they do to one another. Wolitzer’s novel is dense and yet says little about current feminist issues, although it does explore the complexities of female friendships and long-term relationships. Though the work is excellently narrated by Rebecca Lowman and the characters are interesting and well thought out, not much happens to most of them, though the novel spans decades. The most thought-provoking event happens to Cory and is not well explored.
VERDICT Wolitzer’s gift for characterization alone does not save the novel. [“Sure to be in demand: an essential purchase”: LJ 3/1/18 starred review of the Riverhead hc.]
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