- Paperback: 325 pages
- Publisher: THE FEMINIST PRESS CUNY (7 Jan. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1558616063
- ISBN-13: 978-1558616066
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 21.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,394,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Love Children, The (Classic Feminist Writers) Paperback – 7 Jan 2010
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"A novel that feels like memoir, there are many beautiful passages and poignant moments. . . " --Publishers Weekly"French's meticulous and affecting tale of the forging of one woman's conscience encompasses thoughtful portraits of 'love children, ' from peace activists to members of unconventional families, and a forthright critique of the counterculture that puts today's wars, struggles for equality, and environmental troubles into sharp perspective."
--Booklist "The Love Children is valuable in its exploration and depiction of the many ways in which gender can still be a limitation, even within a supposedly more enlightened society."--Bust "Marilyn French has left us with the perfect parallel to The Women's Room, a novel about the 'love children' who were born to that earlier struggling generation, and who now celebrate the joy of feminism. Readers will find their own lives here--and the heart and mind of a woman who helped save them." --Gloria Steinem "I fell completely into the university created in The Love Children--the Vietnam War and the lives of women and girls in the 60s and 70s. Marilyn French asks, with perfect attention to detail and scene, if we learn from our mistakes. Once again she gives us the ammunition to change our lives. It is a generous parting gift from one of the best minds of our time." --Carol Jenkins, founder of the Women's Media Center "A fictionalized memoir that is perfect reading for the girls we once were, and for the new generation of girls we cherish today." --Stella Duffy, author of Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore "Beautifully written, kind and subtle, a nostalgic reminder of idealism, of people politics, of the links between the land and social changes - here, in fictional form, is the background to all the issues still we wrestle with. A lovely novel." --Kate Mosse, author of Labyrinth
About the Author
Pioneering feminist thinker Marilyn French has written numerous works of literary criticism, history, memoir, and fiction. Her bestselling classic, The Women's Room, embodied the issues that ignited the women's movement for millions of readers. Recently, she has published the novel In the Name of Friendship and a four volume series of women's history entitled From Eve to Dawn.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
With a feminist mother and an artist father, one might imagine that life would be perfect for Jess. But the bitter animosities between her parents color her childhood and teen years. By then, her father has departed to the family cabin in Vermont, while Jess and her mother stay in Cambridge.
Through the pages of The Love Children (Classic Feminist Writers), I could relate to many of Jess's thoughts and feelings, having come of age in that same time period. Our experiences were different in the sense that the West and East Coasts were different, but the same passion, fervor, and commitment to the causes of that time fueled our actions.
An abrupt departure from college before finishing led Jess to a commune in rural Massachusetts. A change in the dynamics of the commune from egalitarian to male domination, characterized by power struggles, led to her exit from that life. But settled down again in Vermont, after discovering an unexpected pregnancy, Jess turns to another kind of life and a passion she has discovered over the years: organic farming and life as a chef/restaurateur.
In the beginning, the story unfolded very slowly, but then seemingly sped up quickly in the last 1/3 of the book. Almost as if the author were hastening us toward the conclusion and the resolution of Jess's life. I would have preferred the pace to be a bit speedier in the beginning and would have liked to savor the ending more. Overall, though, I enjoyed the emotional connection I felt to the characters, especially Jess. Therefore, four stars.
The main action of the story involves the inner development and discoveries made by Jess Leighton as she graduates from high school, finds herself during her college years, and completes the examination and determination of who she is and what her life will consist of. This never feels like a young adult novel; despite the young age of Jess when introduced to her, the deep introspection can be understood across ages.
Along with the Jess's introspection comes wonderful observations about her family life, with a feminist mother and a sexist, depressed, artistic father. Her friends come from a variety of economic and social backgrounds, so the variety of observations and the interplay between all these groups result in another layer of introspection.
The Love Children is a wonderful book that offers a refreshing change of focus. Instead of the typical action-driven novel, this book offers a deep examination of a person's personality and all the questions one asks oneself when uncovering who you want to be.
I also found the writing style to be almost expository. There were few detailed descriptions of anything-not the people, not the farm, not the weather, nothing. "Mom and I had shrimp and peas and rice for dinner that night." "She was old, white haired and wrinkled." It was difficult to form any sort of emotional attachment to a character and story than was so plainly written.
We never had to think or wonder about what Jess thought because she told us: "The kids grew, our house was comfortable, we loved our work, and we felt that was the most people could get from life. It was enough." Everything was spelled out for the reader, which discouraged the deeper thought about life that I think was the book's goal. Nearly every chapter left me wanting to tell Marilyn French to "show, don't tell!".
It is easy to want to like this book because of Marilyn French's earlier works but unfortunately, it falls flat.