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The High Cost of Living

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  275 ratings  ·  11 reviews
For Leslie, the cost of living--and loving--is getting higher and higher. She has become involved in a strange erotic triangle with Honor, a romantic young woman, and Bernie, a homosexual street hustler. Both Leslie and Bernie want Honor, but all Honor wants is fun. Here is a powerful novel of three young dreamers caught up in a life-style they can neither accept nor chang ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 12th 1985 by Fawcett (first published 1978)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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 ·  275 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what I would categories as a feminist and lesbian classic. The story revolves around protagonist Leslie and her internal dialogue on her past relationships, sexuality & position as a woman in the world (this book is set in the 70’s) as well as her interactions with the people around her.
A ‘slice of life’ type book which I love
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, academia, sapphic
I read ‘The High Cost of Living’ because Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time and City of Darkness, City of Light impressed me so much. This novel is neither historic nor utopian, taking place in rather grim 1970s Detroit. ‘The High Cost of Living’ is told from the point of view of Leslie, a postgraduate student, lesbian, and black belt in karate. The narrative is introspective rather than rife with drama and centres on Leslie’s friendships with Honor and Bernie. The three of them are very differe ...more
Lord Beardsley
Aug 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
I gave up reading this book for the same reason I returned my tickets for the Michigan Womyn's Music Fest.
James Askari
Piercy wrote this just before her more exposed, more committed, more fully circumstanced autobiographical novel of growing up in Detroit and being a college student in Ann Arbor, _Braided Lives_, and it may have encouraged her to that greater generosity and risk-taking. This novel is more pared-down and stylised, almost like a three-hander in the theatre. The characters are the Piercy stand-in, a quantitative history grad. student and karate brown belt, just out of a substantial lesbian relation ...more
Virginia J.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Best book title ever! A tale of misfits in high school and just beyond that almost certainly stands up to time. Though the struggles of a gay man and 2 young woman friends may seem extreme, given the advances made in social understanding and acceptance these days. The angst and isolation and the wonder of feeling connected at least to one or two people who care and accept you is perennial for adolescents. The characters leap off the page.
Heidi Bakk-Hansen
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I've read a number of Piercy's novels and loved them. This one just didn't click for me.
Jeanette Greaves
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
A re-read, twenty years or more after the first one, is an interesting experience. When I first read this book, I felt that the America in the book was a far away country. The re-read left me feeling that the late twentieth century is even further away. The book has an evocative earnestness to it that takes me back to women's groups, consciousness raising, and the hope we had that we could change the world for the better. I bought this having read and loved 'Woman on the Edge of Time' and 'Vida' ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marge-piercy, own, 2018
I'm thinking. I'm thinking. I may increase the rating once I ponder and mull this over a bit more. Or I may not. and this has little to do with my great admiration of Piercy overall as in my longstanding opinion she is on the top grade list.
Aug 05, 2008 rated it liked it
As usual, Marge Piercy's book was interesting in its analysis of power relationships between men and women, straight and gay, etc. I liked Leslie pretty well, but didn't much care for Honor or Bernard, which didn't help my enjoyment of the story since they were a major part of it.
Rachel Chalmers
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characters seemed unattainably adult to me the first time I read it, twenty years ago. Now, it’s like reading Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For, in that I clearly used it to define what adulthood would mean to me.
Jess Avocado
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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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