Featuring a reader’s guide and an exclusive personal essay from Meg Wolitzer on how age and generational differences influence our relationships, power, ambition, and our ideas about identity and womanhood.
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.
To be admired by someone we admire - we all yearn for this: the private, electrifying pleasure of being singled out by someone of esteem. But sometimes it can also mean entry to a new kind of life, a bigger world.
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. And 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.
Charming and wise, knowing and witty, Meg Wolitzer delivers a novel about power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition. At its heart, The Female Persuasion is about the flame we all believe is flickering inside of us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time. It's a story about the people who guide and the people who follow (and how those roles evolve over time), and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Edition description:||The Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.70(d)|
About the Author
Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings, The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, The Wife, and Sleepwalking. She is also the author of the young adult novel Belzhar. Wolitzer lives in New York City.
Hometown:New York, New York
Date of Birth:May 28, 1959
Place of Birth:Brooklyn, New York
Education:B.A., Brown University, 1981
Reading Group Guide
1. The Female Persuasion is about the relationship between a young woman and her mentor. What does Greer learn from Faith, and vice versa? In what ways do Greer and Faith surprise or disappoint each other? Have you ever had someone come into your life and change it forever?
2. Greer and Cory are high school sweethearts, but their romance is much deeper than their age might suggest. How do the social settings of their hometown and their families turn them into the couple that they are? Discuss the class differences between Greer’s family and Cory’s. How do family origins affect the characters’ ambitions?
3. Cory is entirely consumed by grief after a family tragedy. Talk about the ways in which grief can change a person’s goals. How does it alter Cory’s life path? What do you think about Greer’s reaction to Cory’s grief-induced changes? Is she right to give him space? Is he right to push her away? Could this moment in their relationship have gone any other way?
4. Compare Zee’s childhood with Greer’s. Have their backgrounds influenced the people they have grown up to be, or the decisions they make, or the ambitions they follow?
5. What do you think about Greer’s treatment of Zee and its effect on their friendship and their lives? Do you recognize Greer’s emotional response to the idea of sharing her job with Zee? Were you surprised by Zee’s reaction when she found out what really happened?
6. How has feminism changed between Faith’s youth and Greer’s youth? What do their generational differences show about the nature of progress? Discuss the portrayal of women’s advocacy as it evolves over the course of the book.
7. Faith Frank and Emmett Schrader have a long and complicated history. Do you empathize with Emmett’s character at any point? Do you judge Faith for accepting his funding?
8. At the end of the novel, Greer is forced to make a difficult decision about the Ecuador project. Do you think she makes the right choice? Would Faith have made the same choice if their roles were reversed?
9. Think about the way Faith and Greer’s relationship comes to an end. Do you think it’s for the best? Was it inevitable? By the end of the book, did you still love Faith Frank the way Greer did, despite her flaws, or had your opinion changed? Do you think it’s possible for Greer to move past her love for Faith, or will she always be haunted by it?
10. Wolitzer suggests that there are certain key people, events, and relationships that change the course of our lives. Obviously, Faith does this for Greer. Which other relationships might illustrate this kind of power? Think about Greer’s influence on Cory, and his on her; think about Zee’s life; think about Faith and Emmett. You might even think about Alby’s influence, long-term, on all of them.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer is a highly recommended coming-of-age novel that follows a decade in the life of a young woman and explores friendship, relationships, ambition, and mentors. Greer Kadetsky is a freshman at Ryland College who is trying to keep a long-distance relationship going with her high school boy friend, Cory Pinto, who is attending Princeton. She has always been a bookish, intelligent, independent girl with parents who were more self-involved than parental. She was also accepted at and planning to attend an Ivy league school with Cory, but her parents messed up the financial aid form, which Greer still resents. When Greer gets groped at a frat party during her first weekend at college, she is hesitant to report it. Her politically savvy friend Zee urges her to, but she doesn't until other girls go through the same thing. When the university hearing on the matter results in no sanctions or actions, Greer and Zee are angry at their inability to address the actions of this young man. Greer and Zee are still angry when they go to hear the famous, charismatic feminist Faith Frank, sixty-three, speak on campus. Greer is mesmerized by Frank, asks her a question related to the groping incident, and the university's empty response to the charges. Later the two continue their discussion in the bathroom. Faith is taken by Greer, talks to the young woman and gives her her card. This leads to an opportunity after Greer graduates to work for the feminist icon at her new foundation, Loci, which sponsors conferences about women's issues. The writing is excellent. It is clear from the beginning that Wolitzer knows how to tell an entertaining and engaging story while keeping her plot moving forward. The Female Persuasion really becomes a saga as it follows Greer and the others through the decade. The narrative follows Greer, Cory, Faith, Zee, and another male character. These are all well-developed but flawed characters, with strengths and weaknesses. The characters are all distinctive and have their own individual voices. While Greer is the compelling central character, in some ways Cory is actually the more sympathetic and humane character. Is this the feminist blockbuster of our times? Well, I'm not convinced it is, but perhaps I'm too old for it. It is certainly a very good novel and I was engrossed in the story. I would agree that it explores embracing womanhood, yet also suffering because of it. All the young characters start out emotional, wanting to change the world, striving to make their mark on the world and do something. They are also can be a bit entitled, naive, and sometimes, well, whiny. I realize that they don't feel the need to acknowledge what women before them have experienced. "'Sisterhood,' she said, 'is about being together with other women in a cause that allows all women to make the individual choices they want.'" Although this sentiment was shared, it was never really embraced in the novel and perhaps that is what is bothering me. As women, we fought for the right to be individuals and to be able to voice our own opinions and be in charge of our own bodies. We don't need to throw that away by insisting that it means only these ideals or only a specific stand on certain issues. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing Group
I appreciate how th story unfolded but especially how it ended still somewhat unresolved. It was real.
*This book was given to me by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review* This book featured some fantastic writing, along with engaging characters; however, the plot was all over the place. This book did not follow a particular plot line and it felt like the whole time it was explaining all these things with the intention of making a point, but it never did. I would've enjoyed it more if this book had followed some kind plot that had a conflict and a resolution. The book did a great job of describing what feminism is to different people and showing the context of feminism (or lack thereof) in different kind of situations. It also did exceptionally well in showing the development of feminism ideals overtime in the United States. There a couple of parts where I found the characters to be very short-sighted when it came to there opinions on feminism. Even at the end, I don't think that Greer really had a full grasp on what equality means for all people; not just upper class white women. I did appreciate the growth that all the characters showed by the end of the book, especially Cory. Cory was hands down my favorite character. I did also enjoy the fact the Meg Wolitzer made it very clear that her characters are all flawed, even those that are held in the highest regard by society. Overall, I do recommend this book. It was certainly a joy to read, though it did drag on at some points. I don't think that I learned anything about feminism in particular, nor did I find myself in any of the characters. Perhaps, some people will and they will find their own flaws reflected in this book and will be able to achieve some kind of revelation while reading this. I did not, but it was still a pretty good book. Just not as great as I hoped it would be.