The Female Persuasion, Meg Wolitzer
Although this is the first novel I have read by Wolitzer, she has written a dozen others, and her novel The Wife has just been released as film starring Glenn Close, which I will hopefully be seeing soon. The Female Persuasion is a novel written with a decidedly feminist perspective, which I love—I hope one day that all novels will automatically include this, as it made me feel at home instantly. The story follows Greer and her feminist education and how this affects not only all her relationships, but also how she sees life. Though the ending wraps up quite quickly and with a notable hunky dory feel which I was not a fan of, with so many pages dedicated to women’s stories, and how men are affected by them as secondary characters, I was in bliss. We need more stories like this, and we need more men reading stories like this to balance it all out.
Unsheltered, Barbara Kingsolver
I have read quite a few novels by Barbara Kingsolver, and she never fails to reveal a complex story chapter by chapter, slowly enough to keep you reading and fast enough so you don’t get bored. Unsheltered is no exception. It follows the intertwined lives of two people: one, Willa, a woman in the present day trying to keep her family and house from splintering, and the other, Mary Treat, a famous scientist who lived in the house next door in the 1800s. Although Willa and Mary are often night and day in Kingsolver’s descriptions (with the main difference being that Willa is oftentimes completely unlikeable while Mary is always charmingly interesting), they both are strong, independent women pursuing their passions while trying to thrive in harsh environments, which seems strikingly parallel to what many of us are (still) doing today.