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Superior Women: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) by [Adams, Alice]
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Superior Women: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 388 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


Barbara Koenig Quart Ms. magazine Adams has a way of capturing the multilayered reality of what passes between people in a moment in time....Superior Women has keen things to say about women past and present, and is pleasurable, intelligent reading. -- Review

Reads easily, even breathlessly...the subtle but intensely felt shifts of closeness among the young women are lovingly and expertly laid bare. -- John Updike

[T]he tune being called in Superior Women is tricky. It lulls you, and surely the author means it to, with its harmonious form.... For Miss Adams, applying her elegant, rhythmic style to the form, the challenge lies in making it new, fitting it to her own literary place and our time. -- The New York Times Book Review, Lois Gould

From the Inside Flap

"A remarkable compression of time, memory, and sentiment -- rather as if Hemingway had been turned loose on Proust . . ." San Francisco Chronicle
By the New York Times Bestselling author of "Almost Perfect" and "Careless Love," a brilliant novel tracing the tangled, heart-warming and heartbreaking relationships of a group of intelligent and attractive young women as they grow to maturity over the course of four explosive decades in American life -- from the forties to the eighties. Sharing tears and laughter . . . and, sometimes, men, the women learn what they can really count on -- themselves and each other.
"These women, at the same time friends and enemies, touch each other's lives in ways no one else can -- not even lovers or husbands. . . Alice Adams must be one of her own superior women." United Press International

Product Details

  • File Size: 903 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0671020684
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (June 8, 2011)
  • Publication Date: June 8, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00513D3YQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,929 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Swingler on July 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
Alice Adams draws the reader into the lives of five college women and then leads us through to their old age. The writing in this book is masterful. It shows us the interior lives of women -- the need for love, for lust, for career success, for acceptance. I could see parts of myself in each of the girls. Adams renders the relationship of women so accurately. Most books try to make female relationships too slap happy or too backstabbing. This is a gentle balance of both. The girls don't really like each other, but they do. It's real. And, the girls are real, too. I once had a literature professor who said that women can be categorized into three cubbyholes -- the black widow, the sea cow, and the ladybug. The black widow was sexiness, the sea cow was motherliness, and the ladybug was girlishness. Well, Alice Adams defies those stereotypes and creates five women who are not just surface pretty pictures of what women should be, but complete women who are as capable of sin as they are of kindness -- superior women.
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Format: Paperback
As one of the previous reviewers said, the story is "lite" yet compelling. That is true. But what makes this story much better than other stories of friendships and change is Adams' impressive writing skill. She can plumb the grey areas of character and motivation while maintaining a lean, readable style. There are no seeds of parody in this story. The events are interesting, the relationships are realistic and the author has an elegant way of displaying the characters' mistakes and foibles without heavy handed judgement.
And if that does not convince you, try this: My wife was reading a book on coming of age among women. I asked her how she rated the book. Her response: "This author is trying to be Alice Adams."ÿ
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
***Spoiler alert***
I was very excited about reading an Alice Adams novel because I had read that she was a feminist writer. I found this novel quite disappointing. While it has some interesting characters and it depicts the lives of women from the post WWII era to the early 1980's with some accuracy, it is not what I would consider a feminist novel or even a strong women's fiction novel. It holds a mirror up to patriarchy but it never allows the women characters to really show much strength or independence. The four women depicted in the novel aren't really "friends" - they are more like four women who happened to stay in the same college dormitory and just sort of kept in touch with one another. They don't even seem to like or care about one another all that much. While they are not complete stereotypes, they are certainly types and their roles change as the eras change but nothing about them ever really breaks out of the conventional patriarchal mold. For example, Megan, starts out as the stereotypical working class Californian, overweight (somehow, the book seems to focus a lot on weight) intelligent girl who later becomes the career woman whose happens to have a career almost by accident and who would really much rather be involved in a relationship and jumps from one man to another, none of whom she really cares all that much about. The way she ends up in the last chapter also seems accidental rather than an act of strength and doesn't follow logically in her character development. In fact, there isn't much psychological insight into the characters at all, which is very disappointing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the book unremarkable. In the beginning I had to struggle to keep at it but I liked the main character, Megan, enough that she became my reason. As the story progressed, I found myself more interested, wondering if these "superior women" were finding their stride, but toward the end I began to feel disappointed.

For example, it made sense that while an immature girl, Megan would reject her parents, but once she matured her neglect toward her mother was unfounded, and thus the ending seemed a bit too convenient and unsatisfying. Why did she finally decide to bond with her mother? It almost seemed due to lack of any better idea, which frankly is the prime motivation for the characters.

Cathy served as a study in pain and deprivation, Lavinia never changed except to become more cruel and one-dimensional, Peg experienced the most growth but was only a secondary character, and Megan began and ended the story as the same person - only her finances change.

I may have missed something in my reading, but I have to characterize my reaction to this book as tepid.
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By Beverley Strong on September 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
A group of intelligent young women meets at Radcliffe College in 1943 and immediately bonds, because of the proximity of their dormitory rooms. As a group, they are almost a cliche, one rich and beautiful, one overweight and very plain, another, dark, intense and Jewish, yet another, dark, intense and Catholic and the last of them, not quite beautiful, not quite stylish but with an as yet unkindled, but very strong, sexual drive. The story continues through their study years, marriages, love affairs and business successes. Of course, there is lots of drama and breast beating as the story progresses through several wars, straying husbands and recalcitrant children, but it's all a bit too much like a soapie for me to really ok read !
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