From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings, an electric, multilayered novel about ambition, power, friendship, and mentorship, and the romantic ideals we all follow deep into adulthood, not just about who we want to be with, but who we want to be.
First Look Club ladies Jean and Kai dive into the changing world of Greer Kadetsky, an impressionable college freshman whose life is turned upside down when she meets feminist icon Faith Frank. Read on to know what they think of Meg Wolitzer’s latest.
A Brief Summary
Jean says: In Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel The Female Persuasion, the lives of several characters intertwine in a complicated, multi-layered story about power and ambition, feminism and identity, and what it really means to do good in this world.
Kai says: The Female Persuasion follows the interwoven stories of five protagonists – three women and two men – delving into their struggles du jour, but also exploring the millions of smaller choices made in a lifetime that led them to exactly where they are in their now.
The Pedestal Illusion
Jean says: You can read The Female Persuasion as a novel about meeting your mentor, the person who guides you towards who you want to be, and how you eventually pass this on. Or you can read it as a cautionary tale of how easy it is to place someone on a pedestal, and mistake their experience for enlightenment, and forget that they are just as mortal and flawed as you are. The beauty is in the nuance.
Kai says: I find The Female Persuasion to be ultimately a story about the burden of expectations that we put on others. We meet people, and we project unto them our wants and needs, and then expect them to fill the voids in our lives with their shapes, without really pausing to ask ourselves whether they actually fit. […] It’s our fault we couldn’t see that these figures we have on pedestals are real people who, like us, are just doing the best they can with the hands they’re dealt.
Jean says: We each pursue our own ideals of success and making a mark in the world, and forget that sometimes this can mean just the simple act of staying, when everyone else has left.
Kai says: Maybe it’s okay to let go of the should-have-beens that our young and naive selves insisted on. Maybe life refused to unfold as we had planned because it is not yet what we need or deserve. And most importantly, maybe all of the wildest dreams of our younger selves fall out of reach because we are meant for greater things.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer will soon be available at Fully Booked. To reserve a copy in advance, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jean has, at different points in her life, worked in government, interviewed international celebrities, and been the social media manager for several brands. Read her full review here.
Kai finds narratives and tells stories for a living, and is in constant search for fascination in worlds both real and imagined. Read her full review here.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]