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The Love Children (Classic Feminist Writers) Paperback – September 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Classic Feminist Writers
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY; First Printing edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558616063
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558616066
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,679,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Marilyn French's The Women's Room, published in 1977, spoke to a generation. In this final novel, published posthumously, French uses the social unrest of the late 1960s as the seedbed for modern dissatisfaction. Jess Leighton navigates her parents' divorce, the Vietnam War, racism and her burgeoning sexuality with difficulty. She plunges into sex, drugs, bad relationships and life on a commune growing organic vegetables, something she had never imagined back in high school in Cambridge, Mass. A novel that feels like a memoir, there are many beautiful passages and poignant moments, but French tries to cover too much and tells more than she shows. When she pulls back the curtain on specific, life-changing moments in Jess's life, the writing is strong and the investment in the characters deep, which makes the weaker sections all the more frustrating. French's disciples will laud this as a life-affirming work; her critics will dismiss it; but it's too complex and nuanced a novel to be banished into either camp. (Sept.)
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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.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Rappaport on October 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was disappointed by this book. While I expected the story to be some what predictable and it was-teenage girl becoming aware of the world, going to college only to drop out and join a commune followed by motherhood and eventual marriage/career- it was also uneven. The last chapter took the main character from age 25 (in 1980 or so) to the present day. This meant that the fates of the characters we spent 300 pages getting to know were summed up in just a sentence or two: she wrote a book, he opened a store etc. I have noticed that many authors seem to have difficulties ending a book, especially if it is about a person's life, they start off with lots of detail but then it sort of speeds up about 2/3 of the way through but this book took it to the extreme. We read a tremendous amount about a 10 year period in the woman's life but then had virtually no details on what happened after that. Perhaps it would have been better just to have had it end with her becoming a faux Alice Waters with plenty of life ahead of her than to try and sum up 30 years in just a few pages.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Pearmon on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Marilyn French is so wonderful in constructing her characters, that for many chapters in The Love Children, I thought she was writing a memoir. The greatest strength of this book is the deep inner examination of her main character's personality. That drives the book more than any turmoil outside the character.

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.
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Coming of age during the 1960s in Cambridge, Massachusetts, our fictional narrator, Jess Leighton, tells her story in the first person and gives us a glimpse of what that experience was like--not only for her, but for a generation of similar young people--by revealing in great detail her thoughts, feelings, and actions.

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.
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By blackien on November 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Solid story with interesting characters you care about. Really makes you want to find out what happened to each character. Good companion to the Women's Room.
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