jordan's Reviews > The Position

The Position by Meg Wolitzer
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Sep 14, 09


Meg Wolitzer's novel, "The Position" includes a plot so richly layered and interesting, on can doubt that it consists of this novelist's best work to date. "The Position" revolves around the family of the Mellows, suburbanites who, in the middle of the 70's, write a sex manual where they serve as the models for the paintings. While the manual takes off, making the family wealthy and the parents famous, at home things change. One evening the Mellows four children, ages 7-15 find and read the manual. This moment turns into the seminal moment of their lives, the one which changes everything.

After this initial event, the novel picks up in the present day, examining how the aftershocks of that day continue to reverberate in the each family member's life. Deftly using rotating perspective, Wolitzer shows us the family from each member's perspective. She also takes the opportunity to cover a great many modern subjects, from internet startups, to Viagra, to the war of Iraq, dealing with each in an interesting and engaging manner.

To her credit, Wolitzer's characters never turn trite, and while the occasional clichés creep in here and there, this draw back does very little to lessen the novel's engaging flow. To a certain degree the author returns to the subject of her previous novel "The Wife," particularly as it relates to a wife who is misunderstood and whose depth is underappreciated by her spouse. This novel, however, benefits from deeper characters and also for Wolitzer's use of humor, something that previous work lacked. Indeed, more than a few scenes here provoke a hearty chuckle.

Over all, readers will enjoy this work and be converted to Wolitzer fan's in the process. I have little doubt that, come the summer reading season, a paperback addition will find a welcome place in many a beach bag.
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