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The Women Who Broke All the Rules: How the Choices of a Generation Changed Our Lives Paperback – March 1, 1999
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From Library Journal
YA-This breezy, conversational book recounts the stories of 100 women born between 1945 and 1955. While their individual successes were not noteworthy, their collective actions improved conditions and provided opportunities for young women today. Most of the individuals profiled came from traditional, middle-class families that expected their daughters to get an education, get married, and have a family-in that order-certainly by their early 20s. Evans and Avis traced the behavior-changing factors in 1960s and 1970s society-birth control and abortion, women's rights legislation, the escalating divorce rate, and increased career opportunities-that affected these young women. Their stories involve drug use, abuse, and free sex widely practiced at the time. Remarkably, they overcame their difficulties and turned their lives around. The book will provide today's youth with good insight into the conditions of the period, all the more credible in that the stories included were from "ordinary" women. An interesting read that will hold the attention of most teens.
Jean Johnston, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
American women born between 1945 and 1955 came of age during a unique historical period. These women, raised with the traditional expectations of college, marriage and motherhood, reached adolescence during a time of enormous social change. How did this transitional generation negotiate unheard of freedoms and choices for women that most women now take for granted?
The result is a very engaging social history of ordinary women with extraordinary stories. Diane, a marketing director for a large computer company, talks about the conflict between her childhood training and her current life: "I grew up in the purest, most unadulterated structure -- a Catholic female upbringing. I remember going to politeness classes where they taught us how to eat potato chips with a spoon. I was conditioned for a life which I am not living."
Of interest is the appendix, which contains the interview questionnaire, which readers can take themselves, or use to interview their female friends and relatives. Also rewarding is a segment on advice for younger women. Although the book is almost exclusively a social history of white, middle-class American women, it does include a few stories from African-American, Asian-American and Latino women. Specifically tailored for a general audience, the book would benefit a sociology or women's studies course, or provide the foundation for an oral history project. The authors conclude: "We encourage Torchbearers to accept that they are trailblazers who deserve credit for their individual and generational achievements. They are members of a lucky generation, but it was not luck that brought them to where they are today...Remember that the only thing permanent is change." -- Foreword magazine
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Top customer reviews
This book gives insight into our every day lives and decisions of women of our generation. What fascinated me was that I could relate to every page. I have given away many of these books to close friends and childhood friends that I grew up with. We are all successful and made way for women in business and technology as well as other fields that were dominated by men.
Bren Norris Bren Norris Associates Inc Bren International
As a young person who is also a feminist, it is important to remember how much is owed to this generation. Opportunities have been offered, and doors opened up for my generation due to these women and their hard work. I, for one, am so grateful.
Pleasantly surprising, these 100 Torchbearers are not easily recognized public figures, superstars, or celebrities. Instead, they may be readily distinguished as any one of our own trusted wives, older sisters, younger sisters, cousins, aunts, friends, and colleagues who have had to "reconcile their 1950s childhoods with their more liberated adult selves." Whether married, divorced, remarried, childless, with children, or invested in any other combination of personal realities, the self-made female heroes in this book are cleverly discussed within the concepts of "old rules" (e.g, "Your families' values, beliefs, and practices should be yours") or "new truths" (e.g., "Honor your traditions but act on what you think is right"). Understandable, engaging, and thought-provoking, this fine piece of work presents significant "choices" to think about and discuss with friends, lovers, or family members.
I think this book is a must-read for all daughters AND SONS of Torchbearer mothers.
Just a hint, though, to those TB's rushing immediately to Amazon.com: You raised these kids, you know they won't read it if YOU suggest it : ) ha ha
One final note: I came to Amazon.com today for the first time ever (although I have previously used many e-commerce sites) expressly to buy 10 copies of this book to mail to my other 20-something girlfriends. Hey gen-x'ers: it's really THAT good!