Emilie's Reviews > Sleeping with Cats

Sleeping with Cats by Marge Piercy
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Oct 28, 10

bookshelves: 2010, autobiography, flying-into-language, nonfiction
Read from October 25 to 28, 2010

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10/26/2010 page 120
33.0%

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Fiona (new) - added it

Fiona Purrrrrrrrrrrr...


message 2: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Aaaaachooo!


Emilie (smiles)


message 4: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany No good?


Emilie i don't think that this book is no good so much as that the book and i are ill matched. i couldn't say that i liked reading it at all. i did feel sort of guilty giving it only two stars, though, because it is the story of a working class half jewish woman who with the no support or encouragement pursued her dreams of education and of becoming an artist/writer. and because i respect the way that marge piercy writes often in an honest way even when that means making herself not look so good...

the reasons it didn't work for me are that-
i am not good with reading about the sixities, and most of this book focuses on the 60s and her open marriage and lots of sex and that culture is just not my thing at all.
there's a lot about her cats too, in a way i wasn't expecting though probably should have because of the title, but she has entire chapters where she treats her many cats as characters and tells you every last detail about them, and i just can't get into that either, myself.

i got very frustrated with her, too, and it's harder to explain this bit, but i read the book to read about a woman who struggled with being a woman and being an artist, and i read it to read about femininism. the feminism in the book is mostly lists of marches she went on, and not so much the personal and interpersonal aspects (including marches) of how feminism affected her and her way of understanding and living her life.

i felt that though she took part in these feminist groups and is labeled a feminist, in her personal life she made some frustrating choices that though i can understand them, i was uncomfortable with her not seeing them for what they were. not so much the choice, but the way she portrayed the choice annoyed me. the lack of self awareness. i also felt she was lacking in the kind of empathy with other women that i was hoping for. for most of the book, she is "fighting for her man". with more focus on sex than art or empowerment. okay, yeah, the book did get under my skin!

i think that if you have more patience and interest in the culture of the 60s, in the cats, and in marge piercy specifically, it could be a good book, though.


Emilie i loved Woman on the Edge of Time and highly recommend that!


message 7: by Fiona (new) - added it

Fiona Emilie wrote: "i don't think that this book is no good so much as that the book and i are ill matched. i couldn't say that i liked reading it at all. i did feel sort of guilty giving it only two stars, though, be..."

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this memoir, Emilie; I value the honesty of your comments. I too felt that Woman on the Edge of Time was a remarkable piece of writing and my entire fascination with and zeal for Marge Piercy is founded upon that novel. When I get round to reading her memoir it will be interesting for me remain mindful of the frustrations you experienced in reading about her identity as a feminist.


Emilie thank you, fiona. i feel that i am being a bit unfair to marge piercy. i think my frustrations with her around her relationships with men are overshadowing some of the other significant things she said about her relationship with herself and her writing…i can think of a few things now that she does say that are more around her identity as a feminist and how that did affect some of her choices...so i think some of my response is more around my own impatience of late.
it does seem that feminist thinking is a big piece of what helps her feel that she can take what she needs to be a writer, when the men in her life don't want her spending her time on it and devalue it.

one thing she said that made an impression on me was how she changed due to feminist thinking, and i don't remember the specific words she used, but it was along the lines of going from being overly pliable and compliant and soft in a way that meant she couldn’t take care of her own needs in the face of opposition and she couldn’t be a writer and couldn’t make a lot of her own choices to becoming perhaps too hard. she speaks to how she went to perhaps too much of the opposite side, maybe in becoming pretty abrasive. And it made me think of how hard it is to be both soft and hard. how hard it is to be tough and abrasive when needed and not to lose the tenderness and kindness. and it touched me that she knew that about herself, and saddened me and made me think.


message 9: by Fiona (new) - added it

Fiona Emilie wrote: "thank you, fiona. i feel that i am being a bit unfair to marge piercy. i think my frustrations with her around her relationships with men are overshadowing some of the other significant things she..."

Hmmmm, I appreciate your insightfulness; you are one of the most self-aware readers I have encountered and I really admire your capacity to reach inside of yourself and reflect deeply on your experiences of 'reading' rather than to plainly and objectively reviewing each 'book' you engage (or disengage) with. Of course, there is a place for literary criticism - a very important place and time, however the dimensions of Self that you offer here - in your appraisals, in your writings, seem, at times, to communicate much more to me than academic deconstructions and analyses of literature and non-fiction. (I think that I have expressed all this to you before...?)

Your thoughts, and more specifically your feelings of sadness, about the duality of/tension between toughness and tenderness, rigidity and pliability, abrasiveness and gentleness, resistance and acquiesence, really speaks to me, Emilie. I don't know if I am able to comment further at this time... Your words, in response to Marge's Piercy's position on Feminism, have "made me think".

x


Emilie Fiona wrote: "Emilie wrote: "thank you, fiona. i feel that i am being a bit unfair to marge piercy. i think my frustrations with her around her relationships with men are overshadowing some of the other signifi..."

thank you fiona. i like the way you look at the way i read much more than the way i've been seeing it. thank you for framing it as such a positive thing. and it feels good to hear it again! (smiles)

i like that you used the words resistance and acquiesence to capture this too. i'm not feeling articulate tonight, but i'd like to talk more about this too, if you want to.


message 11: by Fiona (new) - added it

Fiona Emilie wrote: "Fiona wrote: "Emilie wrote: "thank you, fiona. i feel that i am being a bit unfair to marge piercy. i think my frustrations with her around her relationships with men are overshadowing some of the..."

You know where to find me...


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