Perhaps the social and sexual awakening of a shy housewife seems like the basis of an excellent feminist novel. However,I feel that this book did morePerhaps the social and sexual awakening of a shy housewife seems like the basis of an excellent feminist novel. However,I feel that this book did more to set back the feminist movement than it did to help. Though it was revolutionary at its time of publication to openly admit that women, even normal ones, had sexual desires and thoughts, it still portrays the protagonist, Edna, as given wholly to her emotions, a point of view I would have expected from a male author. Furthermore, as the story progresses, Edna becomes so drunk with her own excesses that she fails to concern herself with the suffering she causes those around her, especially her children and apparently doting husband. She justifies her actions by claiming that she needs to be true to herself, and qualifies her "true self" as one that has love affairs and has a good time. Perhaps this was stunning back in 1899, but we now know that people, including female ones, generally like to have a good time. No matter how revolutionary the idea, one does not get a merit badge for selfishness. In fact, the radical change in personality and preferences that Edna undergoes does not seem like a release to me so much as an indication of a brain tumor. Of course, this novel touches on important issues such as female autonomy and the nature of a woman's role in society, but it does so in such a superficial manner in an era when something more substantial was needed that this novel just angers me.
The short story, which was published in "The New Yorker" magazine, was poignant and powerful. The novel, however, "milks it." Try to find the short stThe short story, which was published in "The New Yorker" magazine, was poignant and powerful. The novel, however, "milks it." Try to find the short story instead. It, unlike the novel, is well worth the time spent....more
My best friend and I have a dream of living out our retirement on a mountain with goats; this will at least help me support my addiction to goat cheesMy best friend and I have a dream of living out our retirement on a mountain with goats; this will at least help me support my addiction to goat cheese. Thus, I was very interested to read this book by Brad Kessler, who has taken the earnings from a somewhat successful writing career and bought a goat farm in northern Vermont. When he and his wife were crooning over a lump of fresh, creamy chevre covered in chopped fresh chives, I knew I had the narrator as a kindred spirit. I was not disappointed: the author tells a wonderful story of setting up his farm, peppered with tidbits of goat lore (There's more than you think! Pastoral cultures are pretty good at telling stories! Just think about the Old Testament...).
There were a few moments that made me squirm - the author focuses a little more on goat sex than I was prepared for. He also was very proud of his association of "tome," a fat book, with "tomme," a large wheel of aging cheese. His constant repetition of "tome" and "tomme" in the last chapters made me feel that I was stuck in one of his recurring dreams. However, his stories about cheese-making are positively transcendent. His determination and hard work make for a wonderful narrative. It is no wonder that, at the end, he made excellent cheese....more