‘The Female Persuasion’ by Meg Wolitzer – Book Review

Overview

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 still full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place–feels her inner world light up. Then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting 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.

Review

This novel started off with momentum – I began by curling up into a dark corner and flashlight (iPhone flashlight, of course. Like, who owns a real flashlight these days?) to read what I thought was going to be this beautifully poignant story about the power of being a woman and our ability to change the world. However, it was not.

The writer wanted to make an impact – that I truly believe. But the impact that wanted so badly to take effect was lost in the superfluous and detached writing style i.e. irrelevant metaphors and surface-level ideas flooded with adjectives, adjectives, and more adjectives. The inability to personify the characters correctly left me feeling detached, like every chapter was attempting to introduce me to a stranger or even the same person stuck in time again and again. Character development was weak; there was lack of emotion, conflict, and friction between protagonists when dialogue was written. Direct characterization was used poorly.

It was as if she was trying to teach her audience a meaningful lesson with a great plot that was badly misdirected and spread across different perspectives. I don’t know if Wolitzer wanted to dive deep, but there were very few parts of this book that I could tab. In her case, I’d have to suggest less is more. Focus on the plot. The rest will follow.

I managed to get a few great quotes that somehow made the novel bearable. OH FEMALE PERSUASION, YOU HAD SO MUCH POTENTIAL. But the story, unfortunately, is nearly forgetful.

Rating: ★★★

Genre:

Bildungsroman: literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood, in which character change is extremely important.

Literary fiction: term used in the book-trade to distinguish novels that are regarded as having literary merit from most commercial or “genre” fiction.