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. 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.
Author: Meg Wolitzer
“Greer had noticed, when she was very young, how, looking straight ahead, you could sort of always see the side of your own nose. Once she realized this it began to trouble her. Nothing was wrong with her nose, but she knew it would always be part of her view of the world. Greer had understood it was hard to escape yourself, and to escape the way it felt being you.”
I really, really enjoyed this one. The prose was musical and purposeful and hit you right in the feels, as they say. I thought it was great when I was reading it, but then I switched to audiobook and was even more blown away; the voice acting was a perfect match.
“Your twenties were a time when you still felt young, but the groundwork was being laid in a serious way, crisscrossing beneath the surface. It was being laid even while you slept. What you did, where you lived, who you loved, all of it was like pieces of track being put down in the middle of the night by stealth workers.”
Greer Kadetsky, at the beginning of the novel, is a new college freshman with a legitimate reason to have a grudge against her parents and a boyfriend, Cory, living the life she should have had (or rather, that they should have had together). She has big ideas, but hasn’t quite found her voice. But she does find friendship.
She also finds the beginnings of a purpose after meeting Faith Frank, a former feminist figurehead. Then, after college, she finds her way into Faith’s employment and on a path that skyrockets her through her 20s.
Along the way, tragedy strikes, mistakes are made, money talks, love hurts, and the world changes. And people change. And Greer changes. And it’s really, really beautiful.
“There are some people who have such a strong effect on you, even if you’ve spent very little time with them, that they become embossed inside you, and any hint of them, any casual mention, creates a sudden stir in you.”
I really loved the examination of the power of women’s relationships with one another. About how they lift each other up, and how they sometimes tear each other down a little. How they love each other, and how they sometimes don’t. But we need each other.
Also, the characters were complex, and Wolitzer gave us everyone’s perspectives at least once. It painted a more complete picture of Greer’s world and everyone’s motivations. For example, at first I loved Cory, and then I kinda disliked him, and then I loved him again, and then I realized that this is how real people are.
If you are big on really literary stories, especially those that involve women and the relationships between them, then this one is for you.