female persuasion

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Before I dive into my usual commentary, I want to go on a slight tangent that has to do with the weather. People think I’m exaggerating when I say that I shut down during the summer. I’ve lived in sunny Los Angeles for my entire 23 years of existence, but the constant warmth (one of the reasons people love it) is something I hate. During the summer – when the 70 and 80 degree weather creeps up to 100 and 100+, every part of me ceases to function properly. Since the beginning of June, I have read one book. It’s taken me 37 days to get through a SINGLE book. Normally in 37 days, I can read at least 3. I’ve been creatively uninspired, migraine-y, sluggish, cranky, bloated, and totally lacking in any inspiration to pick up a novel. And this happens, without a doubt, every June through September for as long as I can remember (I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean for that to rhyme.) So, with that disclaimer slash unnecessary explanation/complaining out in the open, here are my thoughts. It’ll probably be another month (at least) till I post one of these. 

The Female Persuasion has lots of good things about it – the most noticeable being it’s cover, a triangle pattern of bright colors that is (admittedly) the only reason I picked it up. The story centers on Greer, and we follow Greer from high school to college to post-grad to her thirties. She has a loyal boyfriend (and then she doesn’t), she figures out what she wants out of life, she lands her dream job (then she quits), and in the end, she becomes a best-selling author, married to said original boyfriend living happily in New York City. That is a reductive version of this collection of 450 text-book sized pages, but those are basically all the major happenings. 

Objectively speaking, this book was decent but not amazing. It dragged at times and teetered the line of campy young adult novel. However, I related to Greer a lot, which is probably why I personally liked it so much. Greer is a naive but genuine feminist, passionate about women’s rights and working in the world of non-profit. She’s devoted, sometimes selfish, but undoubtedly a likable protagonist. I’m at a strange point in my life where I’m figuring out what I want, navigating adulthood, etc. so when a novel centers on a young female in the exact same situation as myself, it’s easy to get carried away in the similarities and feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit. But I think a lot of young women will also find a friend in the character of Greer Katedsky. They will feel like the know her and she knows them, and that comforting fact is ultimately all we can really ask for from a novel.