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The Female Persuasion
Cover of The Female Persuasion
The Female Persuasion
A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow
New York Times Bestseller!
New York Times Notable Book of 2018
One of People Magazine's Top Ten Books of 2018
One of USA Today's Top Ten Books of 2018
"Ultra-readable."Vogue
"Equal parts cotton candy and red meat, in the best way."People

"Wolitzer's social commentary can be as funny as it is queasily on target." —The Wall Street Journal

"Wolitzer is one of those rare writers who creates droll and entertaining novels of ideas."Fresh Air, NPR

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings, comes an electric novel 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.
New York Times Bestseller!
New York Times Notable Book of 2018
One of People Magazine's Top Ten Books of 2018
One of USA Today's Top Ten Books of 2018
"Ultra-readable."Vogue
"Equal parts cotton candy and red meat, in the best way."People

"Wolitzer's social commentary can be as funny as it is queasily on target." —The Wall Street Journal

"Wolitzer is one of those rare writers who creates droll and entertaining novels of ideas."Fresh Air, NPR

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings, comes an electric novel 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.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Greer Kadetsky met Faith Frank in October of 2006 at Ryland College, where Faith had come to deliver the Edmund and Wilhelmina Ryland Memorial Lecture; and though that night the chapel was full of students, some of them boiling over with loudmouthed commentary, it seemed astonishing but true that out of everyone there, Greer was the one to interest Faith. Greer, a freshman then at this undistinguished school in southern Connecticut, was selectively and furiously shy. She could give answers easily, but rarely opinions. "Which makes no sense, because I am stuffed with opinions. I am a piñata of opinions," she'd said to Cory during one of their nightly Skype sessions since college had separated them. She'd always been a tireless student and a constant reader, but she found it impossible to speak in the wild and free ways that other people did. For most of her life it hadn't mattered, but now it did.

    So what was it about her that Faith Frank recognized and liked? Maybe, Greer thought, it was the possibility of boldness, lightly suggested in the streak of electric blue that zagged across one side of her otherwise ordinary furniture‑brown hair. But plenty of college girls had hair partially dipped the colors of frozen and spun treats found at county fairs. Maybe it was just that Faith, at sixty‑three a person of influence and a certain level of fame who had been traveling the country for decades speaking ardently about women's lives, felt sorry for eighteen‑year‑old Greer, who was hot‑faced and inarticulate that night. Or maybe Faith was automatically generous and attentive around young people who were uncomfortable in the world.

    Greer didn't really know why Faith took an interest. But what she knew for sure, eventually, was that meeting Faith Frank was the thrilling beginning of everything. It would be a very long time before the unspeakable end.

    She had been at college for seven weeks before Faith appeared. Much of that time, that excruciating buildup, had been spent absorbed in her own unhappiness, practically curating it. On Greer's first Friday night at Ryland, from along the dormitory halls came the grinding sounds of a collective social life forming. It soon became an ambient roar, as if there were a generator somewhere deep in the building. The class of 2010 was starting college in a time of supposed coed assertiveness—a time of female soccer stars and condoms zipped confidently inside the pocket of a purse, the ring shape pressing itself into the wrapper like a gravestone rubbing. As everyone on the third‑floor of Woolley Hall got ready to go out, Greer, who had planned on going nowhere, but instead staying in and doing the Kafka reading for her freshman literature colloquium, watched. She watched the girls standing with heads tilted and elbows jutted, pushing in earrings, and the boys aerosolizing themselves with a body spray called Stadium, which seemed to be half pine sap, half A.1. sauce. Then, overstimulated, they all fled the dorm and spread out across campus, heading toward various darkish parties that vibrated with identically shattering bass.

    Woolley was old and decrepit, one of the original buildings, and the walls of Greer's room, as she'd described them to Cory the day she arrived, were "the disturbing color of hearing aids." The only people who remained there after the exodus that night were an assortment of lost, unclaimed souls. There was a boy from Iran who appeared very sad, his eyelashes clustered together in little wet starbursts. He sat in a chair in a corner of the first‑floor lounge with his computer on his lap, gazing at it mournfully. When Greer entered...
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    November 15, 2017

    Timid new college student Greer Kadetsky, devoted to boyfriend Cory but otherwise uncertain of her life and herself, has a sudden sense of purpose when she hears leading feminist Faith Frank speak on campus. Remarkably, Faith takes an interest in Greer, setting her on an unexpected new path. Timely reading as circumstances revivify the fight for women's rights; from the New York Times best-selling author of The Interestings.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 11, 2017
    Wolitzer's ambitious and satisfying novel (following The Interestings) charts a Massachusetts girl's coming-of-age and asks pressing questions about what it means to be an empowered modern woman. When "selectively and furiously shy" freshman Greer Kadetsky first encounters 63-year-old feminist icon Faith Frank's impassioned rhetoric during a guest lecture at her college, she is bowled over by Frank's knowledge and intimidating stature. A few years after graduation, Greer lands a coveted job at Frank's Loci Foundation, a new speakers' forum dedicated to sharing women's stories, and couldn't be more excited about what her future might hold. But life throws a few curveballs. Her high school sweetheart, now a hotshot consultant, endures an unfathomable tragedy and moves back into his childhood home, disrupting the couple's plans to move in together. And, while her job at the foundation started out exhilarating and full of big ideas, the once-wide-eyed Greer has gained a more realistic perspective a few years in—including a nuanced understanding of a more human Frank. As in her previous novels, Wolitzer writes with an easy, engrossing style, and her eye for detail seamlessly connects all the dots in the book's four major story lines. This insightful and resonant novel explores what it is to both embrace womanhood and suffer because of it. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME Entertainment.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2018
    A decade in the life of a smart, earnest young woman trying to make her way in the world.On Greer Kadetsky's first weekend at Ryland College--a mediocre school she's attending because her parents were too feckless to fill out Yale's financial aid form--she gets groped at a frat party. This isn't the life she was meant to lead: "You [need] to find a way to make your world dynamic," she thinks. Then Greer meets Faith Frank, a second-wave feminist icon who's come to speak at Ryland. During the question-and-answer period, Greer stands up to recount her assault and the college's lackluster response, and, later, Faith gives her a business card. Like a magical amulet in a fairy tale, that card leads Greer to a whole new life: After graduation, she gets a job working for Faith's foundation, Loci, which sponsors conferences about women's issues. That might not be the most cutting-edge approach to feminism, Greer knows, but it will help her enter the conversation. Wolitzer (Belzhar, 2014, etc.) likes to entice readers with strings of appealing adjectives and juicy details: Faith is both "rich, sophisticated, knowledgeable" and "intense and serious and witty," and she always wears a pair of sexy suede boots. It's easy to fall in love with her, and with Greer, and with Greer's boyfriend, Cory, and her best friend, Zee: They're all deep, interesting characters who want to find ways to support themselves while doing good in the world and having meaningful, pleasurable lives. They have conversations about issues like "abortion rights, and the composition of the Senate, and about human trafficking"; they wrestle with the future of feminism, with racism and classism. None of them is perfect. "Likability has become an issue for women lately," Greer tells an English professor while she's still at Ryland, and Wolitzer has taken up the challenge. Her characters don't always do the right thing, and though she has compassion for all of them, she's ruthless about revealing their compromises and treacheries. This symphonic book feels both completely up-to-the-minute and also like a nod to 1970s feminist classics such as The Women's Room, with a can't-put-it-down plot that illuminates both its characters and larger social issues.The perfect feminist blockbuster for our times.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2018

    Bright and ambitious, Greer Kadetsky, the child of former hippies, attends her fallback school while her high school sweetheart, Cory, an academic powerhouse, enrolls at Yale. During her first weekend in college, she's groped at a frat party by a serial abuser, and she becomes inspired to stand up for herself by a speech given by Faith Frank, a charismatic icon whom Greer later engages in conversation. Greer's burgeoning friendship with a feminist freshman, Zee, also motivates her. After college, Cory sets off to capitalize on his Ivy League degree in international finance, while Greer reaches out to Faith, and both women embark on a new venture, a foundation to empower and support women around the world. It's a testament to Wolitzer's skill that few characters remain unexplored. Greer, Faith, and Cory are all unflinchingly defined. The three true-to-life protagonists face struggles that will interest young adult readers because of the book's weighty and relevant themes. Here, they will also find a powerful character-driven coming-of-age story told in a stark, wry voice. VERDICT Buy for discerning teens and collections serving academic high flyers.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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