My introduction to author Meg Wolizter got off to a very rough start in The Female Persuasion. Believe it or not, I’d actually never heard of Wolizter before I started following a book recommendation blog called Sarah’s Book Shelves.
Let me start by saying I finished this book by an act of sheer will. I literally quit ever 20 pages. EVERY. 20. PAGES. I just could not get into it.
The main character Greer is a college freshman stuck at a school she hates because of her parents, with whom she obviously has a strained relationship. She is smart, timid, and madly in love with her high school sweetheart Cory. Greer is dragged to a campus lecture by her friend Zee where she meets and immediately becomes enamored with famous feminist Faith Frank. Greer’s encounter with Faith changes the course of her.
The Female Persuasion follows the lives of these four characters. We see Greer, Cory, and Zee as they try to find themselves while dealing with the various trials life throws at each of them. Faith, on the other hand, we meet in her aged glory as she tries to rebuild and keep her life’s work going.
The story, from a technical standpoint, is very well written. Wolizter clearly has talent. Unfortunately, I just did not enjoy the way the information was presented to me. It just dragged on……..and on…….and on. I felt every bit of those 454 pages.
It probably did not help that I had no connection with Greer AT ALL. I felt nothing for her except maybe slight annoyance at times. I understand what it feels like to love and admire a mentor but Greer’s infatuation with Faith was very uncomfortable for me.
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THE SILVER LINING
Cory is actually the reason I was able to finish this book. Right when I was about to give up again (for the fourth time) the first chapter dedicated to Cory popped up and helped me stick it out a little while longer. I definitely enjoyed Cory more than Greer.
I will say that the story did pick up for me towards the end. I just had a really hard time connecting with it in the beginning. Well honestly, I didn’t feel a connection with it in the end either but it did get easier to read. I had to make an active decision to not be annoyed by the way the character’s backstories, thoughts, and feelings were presented.
Cory’s life gave me the most in terms of emotional satisfaction. Faith and Greer just didn’t quite do ‘IT’ for me. I actually think Cory ends up being the best feminist in the whole book. My favorite quote from the book comes from him.
“You could say that cleaning someone else’s house was a shit job………….but you could also just say that it was work. and that work is admirable, even if it was hard or unappealing, or undersung, or often maddeningly underpaid if you were female”
He also has a jumble of thoughts concerning success that I enjoyed as well. This book does cover some serious topics and it’s always enjoyable to watch a character dig through life’s tough stuff. Even if you don’t particularly like the character.
Overall I would give this book a strong 2.5/5. In Meg Wolizter’s defense, she provided me with a solid story to chew on. It’s not her fault I couldn’t connect with two of her main characters. You can’t please everyone and you shouldn’t try.
I would really like to give Wolizter another chance so comment below your favorite Meg Wolizter book and I’ll give it a gander.