The Women's Room

by Marilyn French

Hardcover, 1977





New York : Summit Books, 1977.


Relates a woman's experiences and changing attitudes from her marriage in the 1950's to her increasing independence in the 1970's.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Clatters
This was my first real introduction to adult women and our role in society. It opened my eyes in a huge way, I never was the same afterwards. Not long after that, I read The Handmaid's Tale, I credit both books for who I am today. A must read! In fact, I am digging out my 35 year old copy and re-read.
LibraryThing member traveltrish
A book that still resonates decades after it was written. Shows how far we have and yet at the same time haven't come.
LibraryThing member erinclark
I read this book many years ago and it made a lasting impression on me as a young woman. I still remember the line by one of the characters, something to the effect of "Why bother drying the dishes! Dishes dry themselves!" Still true today;)
LibraryThing member Lyn.S.Soussi
A life changing and challenging book - ladies, consolidate your feelings about the current love of your life BEFORE reading this... Gentlemen; every one of you should read this.
LibraryThing member ladysunshine
the best book ever written about womens lives, their minds their bodies, their loves their children, ambitions and most of all friendships. This is a book I have read over and over again each time finding something new as I grow older.
LibraryThing member oephylia
I first read this when I was younger, this is one of the definitive books about women and the changes we've had to go through.
LibraryThing member realsupergirl
A really important book in the feminist canon. Although it's written to be a work of fiction, it conveys a certain era (1970's) and wave of the feminist movement with accuracy and poignancy.
LibraryThing member tixylix
A story about a group of American women in the late sixties and early seventies struggling to find their own identities. I thought it was an interesting read, especially 30 years on from when it was written. Many things in the world have not changed very much...
LibraryThing member Marjorie
The book had a powerful effect on me when I read it in the late 70s. I have not reread it.
LibraryThing member otterley
This is an important book, full of emotion - anger, hope, frustration, love, sadness, regret. Mira moves from housewifery to Harvard, through relationships with family, friends, lovers and children, to a present as a writer, alone on a beach - but somehow whole. This is a book that matters because of what it says and what it feels - not because of the way it is written. Any woman will recognise parts of the book and argue with others - and will live through some of it. A life of liberated academia will never be for everyone, but a life of self awareness and choice is what French demands. It's closer now for more of us, but still too many women are locked in their rooms.… (more)
LibraryThing member pamfb7557
Whenever my ex-husband would see me re-reading this book, he hid, because he knew I would hate men for about a month afterward. This is one book that I truly think changed how I looked at my life. Younger women should read it so they can realize how much life has changed for women in the past five decades. One of my all-time favorite books.… (more)
LibraryThing member joeydag
Published in 1977, mostly set in Cambridge MA in the years 1968-71, I found this a profoundly thought provoking novel. I attended college in Boston during that era and as I read this account of the lives of a group of Harvard graduate students - all women - I kept thinking of my foolish life during those tumultuous times. So many tragic stories about women dealing with the challenges of their lives. After reading this I wonder how one can not sympathize with the feminine movement.… (more)
LibraryThing member AriadneAranea
This is a winding narrative, a soap opera that follows its main protagonist Mira from her youth into marriage and motherhood, and then from divorce into her new life as a post-graduate student at Harvard. Along the way, Mira’s friends from her two lives have their own stories, each woven into the fabric of Mira’s own. As the narrative develops, so does Mira's feminist consciousness.

The trouble is, that the feminist agenda is sometimes just a bit too painfully obvious. It feels as though characters are invented and incidents are included merely to show off or drive home a second wave slogan, merely as a vehicle for the feminism and not because they are valuable or interesting in their own right. They are a little two-dimensional, a little bit stereotypical: they are rarely surprising.

So, yes, this is a grand tour of second wave feminism in novel form: here, the personal is political from beginning to end. Worthy and readable? yes. Great art? not really.
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LibraryThing member flydodofly
Such an important and wonderful book. It explained so many things I noticed but obviously did not understand in my childhood and youth, things I was told/taught about relationships and men and freedom and will - all kinds of things. The book made me wince many times, but it felt good to see certain things written out on the page. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to all women, and ask them nicely to consider recommending it to their daughters, and sons, too.… (more)
LibraryThing member Cecilturtle
This book was a real disappointment. The excruciating detail in which the author indulges cuts off all imagination on reader's part. It creates a distance, as though the reader were an uninvolved observer, which prevents any kind of identification with the characters. The structure is lopsided - sometimes a personal account, sometime a long-winded narrative. It's neither an essay nor a novel. The great cast of characters is difficult to follow - people drift in and out. Each woman seems to be a "case" or political example rather than a person.
The politics themselves are virulent and outdated. Certainly a reflection of the times but today unconvincing. The story is too one-sided.
Frankly, there is not much to redeem this book. I recommend Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique instead.
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LibraryThing member karriethelibrarian
I read this book in college and at the same time my mom was getting divorced and reading it. I'll never forget the conversations we had about it, and how empowered this book made me feel. I should it again now that my 24-year marriage is over and I'm finding myself again.


Local notes

non-circulating. Inscribed by author. One of 2500 copies printed for friends of the author and the publisher.
TLS from publisher laid in stating that this is the first book published under Summit Books imprint
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