Do you guys like memoirs? Because this was, by far, one of the best memoirs that I’ve ever read. Have you ever read The Time Traveler’s Wife? I did, and I loved it, and not only for the story. TTTW was written in a non-linear fashion, with flashbacks and forwards to days in the past and events in the future, and Smith’s book was written in a similar fashion, but oh so much better, because it’s a true story.
The story is about love and loss (mostly loss), and coping with said loss. It’s compelling. I didn’t put the book down in the entire three days it took me to read it (and that’s a compliment; it wasn’t a short book by any means). How Smith ends up in the end – which I won’t ruin for you – is enthralling and almost ironic, considering the things she went through throughout her life.
Check out our forum over on BlogHer for more information, and also be sure to check out the discussions inspired by the book.
This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.
The GOP debates have been going on for so long that many writers already have “election fatigue.” In addition to writing for Zelda Lily, I also do a political column and I am continually blown away by the conservative right’s opinion on birth control. Rick Santorum, who has been under fire for other remarks he’s made regarding feminist issues, also spat this gem:
“One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. . . . It’s not OK because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal . . . but also procreative.
That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it–and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong–but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special. Again, I know most presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things, but I think it’s important that you are who you are. I’m not running for preacher. I’m not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues.”
So … OK. Birth control is not dangerous – unwanted …
I recently read an article in which a feminist writer was asked if everything she writes needs to be feminist, or have a feminist slant. Her response was that since she is a feminist, it tends to bleed through all of her writing and that, naturally, it would more than likely show up in all of her works.
Personally, I’m a bit offended by that response. As a writer and an admirer of many different writing styles, I feel that really pigeonholes women and feminists and writers. And women who are feminists and writers. A writer who is an expert on a particular topic should be expected to spend most of their time writing about that topic, but to say that’s the only thing they could (and should) write is a bit upsetting. Why would you want your authors to be so predictable?
Ahem. For example. Stephen King is an amazing horror writer whose books consistently reach the bestseller list, but that’s not all he can write. He’s written amazing short stories – The Shawshank Redemption, believe it or not, was penned by King, the famed “horror writer.” Not only that, but i’s transcended genre, as it’s frequently studied by bible groups as a way to understand forgiveness and the path of Jesus Christ. King also wrote Stand By Me, a coming of age story of four young boys. [Ed. Note: King also wrote a novel by the name of Rose Madder, which chronicles the growth and travels of a former abused woman who moves on with her life, begins the unimaginable on her own in starting over, and ultimately puts her ex-husband ... well, go read the book. It's fabulous.]
So to say that feminist writers can only write about that, or that Stephen King can only write horror, is rather short-sighted in my humble opinion. Yes, darkness creeps into a lot of what King writes, and feminist writers probably have a very strong and self-sufficient heroine in each of their stories, but there is no need to pigeonhole. To write is to create an escape or to educate a reader. Writing is an art form and we dip into ink of many different colors.
Rick Santorum is running for President this year. If you’re unfamiliar with Santorum, he was a senator and a published author. In one of Santorum’s books he says, “In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they took an honest look at the budget, they might confess that both of them don’t need to, or at least may not need to work as much as they do.” In the book he also accused feminists of causing women to abandon their families, writing, “… their misogynistic crusade to make working outside the home the only marker of social value and self-respect.” Naturally, this brought heavy fire from feminists, as they claim that Santorum is saying a “woman’s place is in the home.” Santorum has never came right out and said those words, but he’s danced around them – quite intimately, if you ask me.
What Santorum doesn’t realize, though, with that quote is that working outside the home is not “the only marker for social value and self-respect,” it is a way for women to earn their own money, and give them a sense of responsibility and pride. A way to allow them to contribute to the household in a real way. Maybe they can use their money to spoil their children, or even themselves. If they’re lucky enough, maybe they get a job in something they love or something that interests them, allowing them to grow as human beings. You know? Hm.
As for these women that Santorum is championing, sitting home cleaning and raising children is an honorable thing to do. I know several …