Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Reunion: The Girls We Used to Be, the Women We Became Hardcover – March 7, 2000
Find Rare and Collectible Books
Discover rare, signed and first edition books on AbeBooks, an Amazon Company. Learn More on AbeBooks.com.
Journalist Elizabeth Fishel profiles 10 of her classmates from the class of 1968 at Manhattan's elite Brearley School, interweaving her own story with theirs to consider the choices they made in a period of wrenching social change. Raised in a privileged society where roles and rules for women were clear, these Brearley girls found after high school that none of the rules applied. Responses to this chaotic new world included dropping out of college, delaying marriage, bouncing from job to job, and having fewer children than their mothers (or none at all). Fishel finds her group more confused than her sister's generation, only five years younger, who could "assimilate the clash of cultures much more gradually" and who in her view managed the juggling act of career and motherhood with greater ease. Reunion also makes an interesting contrast with Miriam Horn's Rebels in White Gloves, a similar study of Wellesley College's 1969 graduates, who also seem more solidly grounded than Fishel's friends. Despite a tendency to overschematize (her categories of "untraditional traditionalist, unconventional career-tracker, seeker, and juggler" aren't especially illuminating), Fishel depicts with appealing sympathy a group of women whose winding paths toward maturity convince her "that being comfortable with change is the most important skill to develop early." --Wendy Smith
From Publishers Weekly
Fishel's collective memoir provides a worthwhile glimpse into a misunderstood generation of elite and well-educatedAbut disappointedAwomen. Intimately portraying 10 of her cohorts from the prestigious Brearley School (class of '68), she illuminates the struggles and triumphs of what she calls an "in-between generation, neither as traditional nor as radical as the generations that buttress it." Eager to understand their collective history, Fishel tries to name the sort of women they became: there's "the untraditional traditionalist," "the unconventional career-tracker," "the seeker" and "the juggler." Although Fishel's labels seem forced at times, the stories she tells resonate. In her classmates' lives she finds a series of surprising and emotionally charged stories about adolescent angst and teenage depression; particularly moving is her portrait of twins Lily (who struggled unsuccessfully with paralyzing depression) and Alice ( who transcended adolescent traumas with grace). Fishel poignantly recalls the artistic and sensitive LilyAwho committed suicide the day after she was released from a psychiatric facilityAand reflects on Alice's belief that Lily would still be alive if only she'd had access to today's medicine cabinet. Though Fishel has a tendency to restate her thesis more times than is necessary, her book is an engaging and illuminating look into the lives of these "daughters of contradictions," and into the world that shaped them. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Instead, this non-fictional work presents girls/women whose personal demons are described through veiled references and through class and historical cliches. The ellipsis may be necessary to protect the women's privacy, but in practice it leaves many of the individuals looking like ciphers on to whom the author projects her pocket psychological interpretations. This projection pattern is particularly disconcerting when the author discusses the girls in elementary and high school; she provides too many pithy insights that can only be derived from (possibly romanticized) memory and not from contemporaneous observation. Why not protect the women by writing fiction, and then using the psychobabble to enrich fictitious characters based on actual acquaintances? At present, some of the portraits lack credibility.
Furthermore, the pat historical name and place dropping also hinder the work, as the women's personal struggles seem reduced to easy references to external political developments and pop culture. With overwrought prose the author states repeatedly that her classmates were caught between two Americas, the conformist old order and the tumultuous late 60s. More direct quotes from her classmates and less of the author's florid description of context would better illuminate this conflict. Instead readers are left with cardboard characters and jejune, melodramatic generational angst. The Brearley girls deserve better.