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Customer Review

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Varied Essays - Accessible to Anyone With a Mind, October 25, 2012
This review is from: In Praise of Messy Lives: Essays (Hardcover)
I just finished reading In Praise of Messy Lives: Essays by Katie Roiphe. I found it to be enjoyable and intellectually stimulating. Since she writes one of her essays on people who comment on articles (could this be similar to those of us who review books of essays?), I want to be as civilized and articulate as possible. I chose to read and finish the book, therefore my comments should reflect that.

Ms. Roiphe writes about a wide range of topics. They include single motherhood and the public's perception of single mothers and their children; divorce and its impact on 'family'; betrayal; how great male writers write about sex; the fact that there has not been a comprehensive history of women's writing in America; the role of women behind great men; the impersonal nature of Joan Didion's memoirs; the fragility of Susan Sontag beneath her strong exterior; John Updike's being perceived as a misogynistic writer; Mad Men on TV; the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray; Maureen Dowd; the repetitiveness and similarity of articles about movie stars; women not liking Hillary Clinton; parents who try to have perfect children are doomed for failure. This is only a small portion of the issues and topics that Ms. Roiphe writes about. As you can see, they are varied and interesting.

My two favorite essays were the ones on Graham Greene and writing about incest. In the essay about Graham Greene, she discusses her own personal interest in the writer and how she reflected on him during her travels to the far east. She explores the concept of transactions, especially how female companionship is so often for sale. In her essay about incest, she is very hard on Jane Smiley and her book A Thousand Acres which is one of my favorite novels. Ms. Roiphe examines the theme of incest in literature and how writers first wrote about how horrible men were. This led to writing about men as monsters.

Overall, I had fun reading this book and looked forward to the next topic once I finished an essay. The book is not politically correct which I appreciate and the writing is fresh and not all that academic. It is a book that is accessible to anyone with a curious mind.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 25, 2012 5:32:20 PM PDT
Jill Meyer says:
Good review. Does she talk at all about her family? I just finished a memoir by her first cousin, Marco Roth, that was quite interesting.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012 5:47:42 PM PDT
Bonnie Brody says:
Jill, There's no talk of her family except for her two children. Bonnie

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012 5:47:52 PM PDT
Bonnie Brody says:
Jill, There's no talk of her family except for her two children. Bonnie

Posted on Dec 5, 2012 4:48:23 PM PST
I just saw Katie Rophie on Joy Behar's show .. The interview was good. or good enough to make me want to find out more about this author and book.
Thanks for your review.
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