Lauren's Reviews > Unfinished Desires

Unfinished Desires by Gail Godwin
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's review
Nov 07, 2009

really liked it
Read in November, 2009

This novel is based on Godwin's own experiences at a Catholic day school in North Carolina. The retired headmistress is writing a memoir /historyof the school and is drawn back to a certain incident in the early 1950s that caused the expulsion of several students as well as her own leave of absence. But it is as much about the relationships between women - mothers and daughters, teachers and students, and the passionate friendships that exist between adolscent girls. In some ways, it is a very conventional novel, in others, a surprising and penetrating look at how power manifests itself in those same relationships and how religion was one way that women could empower themselves, even within the confines of a traditional church. There are also shadows of other great novels about teachers - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie comes to mind.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Sirvent Godwin is one of my very favorite novelists. Lauren, I think what you wrote about this book being "conventional" yet "surprising and penetrating" is as good a characterization of Gail Godwin's work in general that I've ever read. I am camping out at my mailbox waiting for this one.

Lauren honey, I can send you my copy when I finish the review.

message 3: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Sirvent Thanks, Lauren. I'd love that.

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