By Marilyn French
I couldn’t finish this book, but I count it as an achievement that I made it over half way. By one page. So I won’t waste too much time by outlining why and how I didn’t like it, in case you think that my opinions are half-formed
The simple fact is that this is not a novel. It is a slurry of case studies, jammed together and fictionalised. Even literary novels must have plot, Marilyn, just plot driven by emotion. Here we have plenty of emotion, shoved down our throats like we don’t have enough emotion ourselves, but little or no development. French pulls together all the awful stories of women’s oppression imaginable in Western society and fails to edit them. You end up with (half) a book of testimonies, essentially. Maybe this book therefore had a lot of value in 1977, and maybe it does if you’re reading fem lit from a historical perspective. But in 2011, there’s nothing here. Read a proper story instead.