Novel calls women to action

By Amy Geldean

Meg Wolitzer fearlessly and passionately calls on women with ambition and potential to hold positions of power in her latest book, “The Female Persuasion.”

The novel follows timid, yet driven first-year college student Greer Kadetsky as she learns how to stand up for herself and become a strong feminist. She builds herself up only to be torn down by those she loves and admires but continues to push through.

During her time in college, Greer is sexually assaulted by a fellow male student, Darren Tinzler. Tinzler receives punishment in the form of three therapy sessions despite multiple offenses. Greer, as well as some others, believe this is not taken seriously enough, which points out a significant issue in America today.

Sexual assault happens at colleges all across America, and the novel is not afraid to draw attention to this issue. NIU hosts events like Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, which is meant to raise awareness and is a way of achieving the same goal the book sets out to do. While some argue college communities need to do more, women also need to feel comfortable enough to speak out, as only 20 percent of college female students report their assaults to law enforcement, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

The layout of the novel discusses several characters and their backgrounds. Eventually, each character’s description relates back to Greer and hints to her present life. The wording can be too much at times, but the amount of detail helps readers to understand more about the characters.

The content thoroughly shows the challenges women face growing up as ambitious members of society. Greer finds inspiration from feminist icon Faith Frank, who left home after being told she would have to live at home after college for her own protection. Faith listened to stories of people like her who wanted more for women and transformed herself into a powerful feminist, inspiring women like Greer. This matches Wolitzer’s effect on women who may read the novel as she continues to share stories.

“The Female Persuasion” successfully advances the idea of feminism and shares a story for others to be inspired by in a colorful and engaging way.