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Braided Lives

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  701 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Growing up in Detroit in the '50s and going to college when the first seeds of sexual freedom are sown, Jill and Donna are two young women coming of age in an exciting and turbulent time.
Hardcover, 443 pages
Published March 1st 1982 by Summit Books
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(showing 1-30 of 1,058)
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Kira
Oct 04, 2007 Kira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A life changer. I credit this novel and a steady diet of Ani DiFranco right around 1995 with turning me into the man hating evil feminist I am today. In hindsight, not the greatest novel - like most 70's era second wave feminist literature, it's heavy handed and the story and characters take a backseat to the political agenda. Every horrible thing that could happen to middle class white women in the 60's happens to these characters - rape, incest, coat hanger abortions, abusive "activist" boyfri ...more
Judith Rosenbaum
An old favorite. Found this book in a used bookstore in London when I was 18 and was deeply moved by the story of women's friendships in the proto-feminist era.
Leah
Jan 04, 2009 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marge Piercy is working-class feminist gritty real lady book comfort food. I think reading this book when I was 14 showed me how you become a writer when you don't have a trust fund, and how you live through this as a no money girl writer- love, life, fucking, danger, solo apartments, stealing paper from work.
Meredith
If I had stopped reading this book before the last 50 pages or so, I would have been much happier and would have given it 4 stars. Overall, this was a good read - I like Marge Piercy's writing style and sometimes feel like we have led overlapping lives, but she let her personal politics get in the way of an otherwise excellent story. The ending of this book was way over the top, felt false, and diminished the power of the story. She is not the only writer to fall into this trap - Upton Sinclair' ...more
Larou
This is the story of the friendship between two women, a friendship that starts when they are girls and lasts over decades, following their braided lives as one marries and becomes the wife of a rich man while the other begins a career as a writer. The story is told from the first person perspective of the latter and explores what it means to be a woman in a capitalist society, with a distinct feminist slant.

And no, I am not referring to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, even though the simila
...more
Raima Larter
Apr 08, 2013 Raima Larter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book, since it had come highly recommended by another reader who said the author, Marge Piercy, was "amazing." I was able to keep reading the book only because I was trapped on a plane with it and had nothing else to read. Otherwise, I would not have made it past the first few chapters. Apparently, the author is a poet as well as novelist, which might account for the impenetrable prose that seemed, at times, to be nothing more than the author playing with the sound of words ...more
Caroline
Jun 02, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite for a long time – spoke to some of my long-suppressed and unrecognized yearnings.
Tricia
Jan 08, 2009 Tricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite book ever. I first read it 25 years ago (eek) and have reread it at least yearly since, and I get something new out of it each time. It speaks to me more than any other book, and I read all other books hoping to get the same thrill from them. The main character, Jill, is so real, which may be because the book is partly autobiographical, as confirmed in Marge Piercy's autobiography, Sleeping with Cats, also well worth reading. Her description of first love is amazing, as well as the ...more
Doris Raines
I. Like. This. Book. A. Lot
Tracey M
Feb 12, 2016 Tracey M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were parts of this book that I really loved but I did find that it dragged on quite a bit and I got tired of hearing about the protagonist's love affairs. She was such an ardent feminist and yet there was so much focus on the men in her life of whom I grew quite bored. I would have preferred to read more about the character's political work which was just mentioned here and there in passing. But, still, it was nice to read a feminist account of women's lives in the 1950s.
Auntjenny
Sep 30, 2010 Auntjenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book helped me see things from a different angle-- corny or not, this book is "empowering". Maybe the book is dated, but nevertheless a great book I'll recommend to my own daughter one day, when she's older, much older. And she probably won't read it because she'll have a Kindle and access to all the Pretty Little Liar books she can consume... no lazy summer days with nothing else to do other than read the weird Marge Piercy book her mother bought for her.
Lisa
Dec 27, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was the first book of Marge Piercy's that I read. I just stumbled on it accidentally in the Bryn Mawr library. I remember getting the book and not doing anything else until I was done reading it. Part of the reason why it was so powerful was because it's about a young woman in college, so I could identify so closely with it. Anyway, it turned me into a huge Marge Piercy fan, though I would be the first to admit that her books are of uneven quality.
Juli
Jun 15, 2007 Juli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: haveread
This was my first Piercy book, and I think this one and "woman on the edge of time" are the best by her that I have read. "Gone to Soldiers" was fantastic, but there were so many characters in such a huge novel that at times I wanted to diagram the plot to make sure I was thinking of the correct story line. In these two, she gets it just right, and the stories are compelling and fabulous.
Maybe a little too "neo feminist" for some, but i love her work.
Fishface
Feb 11, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it
A good feminist novel that traces the protagonist through her teens and young adult years, following her through the experiences that shape her feminist beliefs.
Patricia
It's the 1950s and Marge Piercy's main character doesn't want a man to posses her. Hmmm. Good luck with that. Having just read her memoir, I can tell that large portions of this novel are inspired by her own life. It seemed like things were going to be grim, and so my attention waned. Also? Horrible 80's-esque cover. So bad it is almost good.
Donna
Feb 26, 2008 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
A college novel regarding a woman undergraduate from a working class background at University of Michigan in the 1950s. Good insight into the challenges of a first generation student, and sexism in the 1950s college dating scene. Scenes of campus life at UM will be familiar to anyone who has visited or gone to school there.
Elizabeth Ruth
Jul 15, 2012 Elizabeth Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Marge Piercy that I never ever wanted to end. This one is set in the 50s and 60s, and provides a nice reminder of the darkness that nurtured pre-feminist awakenings in America. A very nice counterpart to Mad Men. Can I just have The Complete Marge Piercy delivered to my doorstep?
Penny
Jun 25, 2013 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An epic story of life in Ann Arbor and NYC during the 60s. I suspect it is autobiographical - though she claims not. The story of how lives of friends braids together was interesting -- but it had an air of soap opera as to who was having sex with who how often etc.etc.
Miquette
Feb 01, 2008 Miquette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all of my female friends
one of the many books that changed my life at the time that i read it, which was when i was working for planned parenthood as a teenager. it's images of the women's rights/reproductive rights movement are beautiful, the prose is fluid and the story is unforgettable.
Roki
Sep 22, 2009 Roki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dated but still enjoyable read about women's relationships with each other and with men with a background theme of what happened to women when they didn't have access to safe and legal abortions.
Claire S
I always had the impression 'Vida' was somewhat autobiographical; I liked that aspect of it, but not it generally that much. This sounds similar.. looking forward to it..
Dottie
Two years in the plan -- and well-worth the wait given its relvance to our time and to the book which I read in tandem with it. Piercy is a never fail in my opinion.
Vivian
May 17, 2014 Vivian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tried-to-read
Okay, tried this book twice because I really liked some of her other books but this one is just not interesting and I cannot see that it is going to be worth my time.
Monica
Aug 29, 2008 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book when I read it back in 1991, but when I tried to re-read it recently, I wasn't that into it
Kerry
Apr 22, 2009 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this over and over. Piercy has caught my college experience in this novel, 25 years before it happened
Stephanie VW
Mar 10, 2011 Stephanie VW rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-at-dal
I read this book in university and it expanded my little world.
Kim
Jul 15, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I re-read this every couple years. love it.
Jenny
May 03, 2008 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
one of my absolute favourites.
Emmi
Sep 06, 2007 Emmi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Marge Piercy books!
Nicole
My first and favorite.
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Marge Piercy (born March 31, 1936) is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers, a sweeping historical novel set during World War II.

Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a family deeply affected by the Great Depression. She was the first in her family to attend college, studying at the University of Michigan. Winning a
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“Writing sometimes feels frivolous and sometimes sacred, but memory is one of my strongest muses. I serve her with my words. So long as people read, those we love survive however evanescently. As do we writers, saying with our life's work, Remember. Remember us. Remember me.” 10 likes
“In fiction, I exercise my nosiness. I am as curious as my cats, and indeed that has led to trouble often enough and used up several of my nine lives. I am an avid listener. I am fascinated by other people's lives, the choices they make and how that works out through time, what they have done and left undone, what they tell me and what they keep secret and silent, what they lie about and what they confess, what they are proud of and what shames them, what they hope for and what they fear. The source of my fiction is the desire to understand people and their choices through time.” 4 likes
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