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by Marilyn French
Download Women's Room fb2
Women's Fiction
  • Author:
    Marilyn French
  • ISBN:
  • ISBN13:
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    HarperCollins Distribution Services; First edition (April 6, 1978)
  • Pages:
    472 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Women's Fiction
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1262 kb
  • ePUB format
    1593 kb
  • DJVU format
    1248 kb
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Marilyn French was born in 1929 in New York into a family of Polish descent. She received her doctorate from Harvard University in 1972.

Marilyn French was born in 1929 in New York into a family of Polish descent. A bestselling writer of both fiction and non-fiction her work includes The Women’s Room (1977), The Bleeding Heart (1980), Her Mother’s Daughter (1987), The War Against Women (1992), My Summer with George (1996) and A Season in Hell (1998); her illuminating memoir of her victory over cancer. Marilyn French is also a literary critic, her articles and stories appear in a wide range of journals and anthologies. She has taught at Hofstra, Harvard and the College.

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The Women's Room is the debut novel by American feminist author Marilyn French, published in 1977

The Women's Room is the debut novel by American feminist author Marilyn French, published in 1977. It launched French as a major participant in the feminist movement and, while French states it is not autobiographical, the book reflects many autobiographical elements. For example, French, like the main character, Mira, was married and divorced, and then attended Harvard where she obtained a P. in English Literature.

I consider Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room a must read for anyone interested in the historical background of 2nd Wave Feminism. This book documents an eerie and unyielding portrait of the frustrations, heartbreak & liimitations experienced by a group of women. Their professional, intellectual, reproductive, and familial constrictions, and (lack of) equality dictates a tragedy of struggles within 20th century North America. 2 people found this helpful.

The harsh vision of marriage in Marilyn French's The Women's Room looks cartoon-like today. You become older than the books that influence you, and it is as difficult not to patronise them as it is not to patronise your younger self. But the first bestselling novel to emerge from 1970s feminism still strikes a chord. At the same time, it is impossible not to feel it was a better self that was once capable of being so horrified that it vowed to do better. But the turning-point experiences - Uncle Tom's Cabin, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Cathy Come Home, Bob Geldof and Live Aid - even when they are recent, seem to belong to a distant era.

Mira and Val and I were part of what one eminent professor of English in this exalted institution had referred to sneeringly as the ‘Geritol crowd. I don’t know why Harvard accepted us at all; it was not its usual practice. Perhaps because of the war – we were eminently undraftable. But we were few enough in number to feel terribly alone in that mass of undirected faces, all of which looked under twenty. They weren’t of course: Kyla was twenty-four, Isolde, twenty-six, Clarissa, twenty-three.

Mira was hiding in the ladies’ room. She called it that, even though someone had scratched out the word ladies’ in the sign on the door, and written women’s underneath. So begins the famous feminist novel that follows the transformation of Mira Ward and her circle as the women’s movement begins to have an impact on their lives.

First published in 1977, The Women's Room by Marilyn French has become a feminist classic. My favourite feminist novel at the time, discovered when I was sixteen, was Small Changes by Marge Piercy. My sixteen-year-old self thrilled at the naughtiness and sexiness of Lisa Alther‘s feminist romp Kinflicks. I knew the next feminist novel I had to read was The Women’s Room, a book I had grown up with on my parents’ bookshelf

The Women's Room (1997).

The Women's Room (1997). About book: In retrospect, I can say that, while "The Women's Room" wasn't always an enjoyable book, it was an important book, a narrative worthy of my time and attention in that it is a significant perspective of the life of the middle-class woman pre- and post- second wave feminism. It is often difficult for young adult women to appreciate our nearness, in terms of decades, to an American system which legalized and regulated the condemnation of the single woman.

The Women's Room Marilyn French. 75 people like this topic. Want to like this page?

The Women's Room Marilyn French.

The twenty-one-million copy bestseller-available again for a new generation of readers Originally published in 1977, The Women's Room was a novel that-for the first time-expressed the inner lives of women who left education and professional advancement behind to marry in the 1950s, only to find themselves adrift and unable to support themselves after divorce in the 1970s. Some became destitute, a few went insane. But many went back to school in the heyday of the Women's Liberation movement, and were swept up in the promise of equality for both sexes. Marilyn French's characters represent this wide cross section of American women, and her wry and pointed voice gives depth and emotional intensity to this timeless book that remains controversial and completely relevant.

I don't remember if there was a tad bit of violence, sexual content, or which person the author uses. I read it more than thirty years ago, but I want to comment on it because I recently ordered it to give to an acquaintance who needs the lesson it provided me. This book made me think about my relationships with men for the first time and to say to myself, "Hey! Wait a minute!" I recommend it to anyone who is so caught up in whether or not the guy truly loves her, that she forgets to ask herself how she really feels about him!
This is one of those books that I read every year. I find something I missed the year before. Marilyn French's prose is exquisite and highly readable. The novel centers around Mira, an attractive and very intelligent woman born in the late 20's to very rigid and 'repectable' parents. Despite her convential upbringing, Mira reads voraciously and forms opinions different from those of her parents. She briefly attends college and meets Norm at a neighborhood party. She marries him (this is the 1950's) and they have two boys in quick succession--Normie and Clark. Norm is a medical student and Mira stays home and takes care of the kids and house.After Norm graduates, they move to a suburb and she begins to make friends with the other women in the neighborhood, who are basically like her, but some have 'secret' lives that French explores in depth. By this time, (the late 50's and early '60's) Mira begins to realize how stifling her life is and she and Norm grow further apart. He asks for a divorce (he's been having an affair with a younger woman---surprise!) Mira puts the boys in a private school and moves to Cambridge (she's accepted at Harvard); the year is 1968 and she's a fish out of water until she meets other graduate students and an attractive man named Ben. Of course, Ben is the hero of the novel because he, unlike Norm, is a wonderful lover and Mira experiences her first orgasm. The women she befriends in Cambridge are altogether different from the ones she knew in suburbia, particularly Valerie and her teenager daughter, Chris. I think Ms. French tends to lionize Valerie; I don't like the character because she's obnoxious and profane and thinks 'all men are rapists'; get a grip! Mira receives her Ph.d in English and develops a deeper relationship with her sons. She and Ben break up when Ben wants to marry her and have a baby. Highly recommended!
This is an old classic that I read years ago and I just had to buy a copy and re-read it. This book speaks for women and the women's movement. It is empowering. If you are going through a bad time, it can make you angry and strong and determined. If you are in a good place in your relationships, it may seem too bitter. But this book truly goes inside the issues and the feelings and the world of many of the women who led the women's movement. I recommend it.
I didn't just read this book in the early 80's; I devoured it. It was recommended to me by chance from someone I met in a bookstore and I had no idea what it was going to be about. The woman told me it would change my life. Not very many people feel so strongly about a book so I purchased it and started a 'journey'.
My experience with men had ranged from abusive to nurturing and socially I was in the same boat as many other young women coming out of college. I was starting a family and a new career. There were some very real challenges and obstacles in my path, lots of unresolved issues running around my head and I never read anything that pulled it all together like this book did. My eyes had to be opened by something and this book was 'it'.
Did it change my life? Most certainly. Was the outcome positive? If you asked those around me in the aftermath, the answers would have varied... some noted a new outspoken nature, others suggested I should just shut up. Being called a militant feminist one day left me speechless because I would never have claimed that label. I admit I was jaded and angry for a while but that dissolved as I took the parts of the book I needed and discarded the rest.
Funny how a book can change your behavior.
Honestly, I needed to wake from my former accommodating, whimpering existence and stand up for myself in my marriage and at work. This book helped me do that. How so? By somehow empowering me with courage to say what I felt and knew to be right. Because I could identify so strongly with some of the characters it gave me a sense of sisterhood I'd never known.
While I agreed with most of the subjects covered in the book, I can't say I ever did think all men were bad nor did I ever come around to thinking my views on abortion excluded me from being a feminist. (I unapologetically think abortion should only be done in the extreme cases, that contraception should be widely available or free, and is where the real choice is.)
Some said Mira was shallow in other reviews, even deserved her situation. I disagree. She was a product of her generation and her environment. And her marriage didn't work out. Back then, divorce provoked many stereotypical responses like being shunned from the neighborhood, gossip, harsh words. My own mother divorced in the mid 60's and suddenly the children in our little neighborhood were no longer allowed to play with me. I can't imagine what Mom had to endure.
27 years later I might find the Women's Room to be an angry rant or almost a whine but this is not a criticism. No, it's more of an opportunity to look back and see just how far we have come. That's why I'm going to read this book again. I know where I was when I read it the first time nearly 30 years ago and it will be interesting to see how I feel about it now that I'm equipped with the wisdom that only comes with age.
And to those who said French's book is no longer relevant, well, thank God so many things women used to endure are no longer relevant. Look on it as history then, a lesson for an age when women's lives were much different than they are today.
White gold
This is my third time reading it - at 19, 29 and now in my 50's. Every time, I get something different out of it. Although it's always been one of my favorite books, I realize that it may take a bit of effort for some to get into it. I do think it's worth the effort, though. It's most definitely a book for women although I think men would get a lot out of it too. This book makes you think and really look at the women around you with different eyes.
Legend 33
A quintessential book on the women's movement of th '70s. Younger women should check out how far we've come, but have we? A re-read for me...
I consider Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room a “must read” for anyone interested in the historical background of 2nd Wave Feminism. This book documents an eerie and unyielding portrait of the frustrations, heartbreak & liimitations experienced by a group of women. Their professional, intellectual, reproductive, and familial constrictions, and (lack of) equality dictates a tragedy of struggles within 20th century North America.