The experience is her own—as a woman, a poet, a feminist, and a mother—but it is an experience determined by the institution, imposed on all women everywhere. She draws on personal materials, history, research, and literature to create a document of universal importance.
This book is a sociological analysis of motherhood - the institution - an examination across several cultures (though mostly those leading to American), invoking myth, psychology, feminist theory, Marxism and more. At times, Rich's anger was uncomfortable - I don't feel it in the same way myself. But mostly, it was galvanizing. I came out of the book realizing how very much the institution is culturally determined and how much it would be possible to change - and how much better we would all be if we did change it. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to think about parenthood, of either sex, or to understand the role of parenthood and mothering in our culture. If you are honest, it will make you uncomfortable - but I think that's a good thing.