Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Position” as Want to Read:
The Position
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Position

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  4,320 ratings  ·  441 reviews
From the bestselling author of The Wife—Meg Wolitzer’s “hilariously moving, sharply written novel” (USA TODAY), hailed by critics and loved by readers worldwide, with its “dead-on observations about sex, marriage, and the family ties that strangle and bind” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Crackling with intelligence and humor, The Position is the masterful story of one extraordin
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 13th 2006 by Scribner (first published March 1st 2005)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,320 ratings  ·  441 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Position
This is one of those ‘ennui of modern American life as seen through one dysfunctional family’ novels that I normally avoid like the plague – and indeed, an early chapter featuring yet another melancholy genius worrying about his antidepressants and sexual hang-ups made me fear the worst. But I was strangely won round, mainly thanks to some smart narrative focus which helps keep things tight and under control.

Our main characters are the four children of Roz and Paul Mellow, a couple who achieved
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where to begin? I love Meg Wolitzer. Only recently did I become aware of her, and to date I've only read two of her books. But from what I know, from what I've read, this is the novelist for me. This is someone interested in the things I'm interested in -- human relationships, relationships between parents and children, relationships between lovers. There's romance here, but never sentimentality. There's sex, but it's always realistic and tasteful. She's not afraid to deal with the great existen ...more
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
When I first read the back of this book I thought it sounded potentially hilarious and at the very least quite interesting. And while the premise certainly is interesting, Wolitzer falls a little flat on her delivery. The story begins in the seventies when the Mellows first publish their how-to sex guide (featuring illustrations of themselves in all the positions!) but rapidly moves to the present day and focuses on the current lives and loves of the four grown children.

It's hard to imagine, but
Rachel León
This novel has Meg Wolitzer's signature charm, which I love, and the premise is interesting: the children of a couple who wrote an illustrated sex manual find the book and the discovery changes everyone. ...more
Feb 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who grew up in the seventies
Shelves: fiction
I listened to Wolitzer give a talk at a writing conference in 2007. She said that she was intrigued by writing about the mundanities of life, like food and sex. She didn't think people wrote well about it.

She preached what was to me a curious distance--she didn't think that sex scenes should be titillating, and hers are mostly not.

Despite that, her characters are well developed, and her writing is very good. I was quite amused throughout most of the book. There appeared to me to be some point o
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this one but now donating as clearing bookshelves for move.
Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Meg writes in a way that makes me want to write. She has a wit and a humor so subtle and smart that it takes my breath away.
Her knowledge of what makes people "tick" (especially CHILDREN) and the ways our young souls are marred is at such a depth that I wonder sometimes about her own story as I read: HOW does she know so much about human nature?
Brilliant, smart, biting and kind - a feminist who is not held down or in her anger. She sees well, she loves well, and I am always left chang
Matthew Crehan Higgins
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I woke up in the middle of the night and all I could think about was being only 25% away from finishing this book, so I got up and did. That's the strength of Meg Wolitzer's characters. They read in a way that feels so real that when the book is put down, the reader keeps on thinking about them and wondering. She has a great gift for telling things in multiple discourse, flashing forward and back and looking at the same events from different characters' experiences and never loses the reader. ...more
Oct 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Your parents write a book about sex and are featured in tasteful drawings in many, many positions, one of which they invent.
You and your three siblings discover said bestseller on top of a cupboard when you all are six to 14 years old.

Surprise, surprise. Screwed up adulting in your future. Guaranteed.
3.5 stars

This is the first book by Meg Wolitzer that I've managed to finish because for a while I kept buying her books without actually finishing (or even starting) any of them. I was just straight up collecting them.

I enjoyed this, although it took me a while to get into it, but I also stopped thinking about it the moment I finished the last page.
The writing was exceptionally good. The characters were flawed but well written. The premise, revolving around the infamous book, was great. The wh
I love the creative plot ideas Wolitzer seems to have no problem coming up with. "The Position" creates the what-if scenario involving two parents who write a best selling manual on sex. Real smart. If you love your children, you do not publicize dozens of baked sketches of the two of you having sex in caps Kuma-Sutra positions. They even create their own position, christened "Electric Forgiveness". Something like sitting facing each other, wrapping arms in a hug-like position, then inserting th ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Meg Wolitzer takes up an entire shelf at my local library. Where is a girl to start? Ten-Year Nap? Um, I haven't actually woken up from mine yet. So, no thanks. The Uncoupling? The Wife? Um, relationships are hard. I get it... So, no thanks. The Position? Let's see... Children haunted by parent's sex book. Crackling with intelligence and humor. Set in 1970s suburbia. That should be a suitable escape - nothing that hits too close to home.

Boy, was I wrong. This story, with its seemingly far-fetche
Feb 28, 2010 rated it liked it
How would you and your siblings react if your parents had written the nation's best selling sex guide (complete with graphic illustrations of themselves demonstrating various positions) of the 1970's? This novel opens with the four Mellow children gathering in the den one afternoon to page through the volume. Their initial reactions as well as the lifelong effect of carrying the Mellow name and feeling like the whole world has watched your parents have sex over and over again is chronicled in th ...more
David Jay
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from the first word to the last! I don't know how I have missed all of Meg Wolitzer's novels over the years but she is my new favorite, albiet belated, discovery.

Roz and Paul Mellow become rich and famous in the 1970s when their book "Pleasuring" (think "Joy of Sex") becomes hugely successful. The book contains many drawings of the couple in various sexual poses. "The Position" begins on the day their four children discover the book hidden away in the den and follows the family
Eric Cohen
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've been on a real suburban fiction kick lately and this one really sung to me. It follows a family who lives change in the 70's after the parents write an illustrated sex manual a la "The Joy of Sex."

While the book becomes famous and offers the family money and fame, the (sex) lives of all four children and the parents are affected in many different ways as they move on to adulthood.

The prose in this is wonderful and it's not a Good Read but a great one.
Anne Marshall
Mar 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
A very odd book. No discenerable plot. Basically just a sequence of events.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read four of Wolitzer's books now. Just like the other three (The Female Persuasion, The Interestings, and The Wife), The Position an incredible piece of work.

One of Wolitzer's powers is her ability to make the characters feel so plausibly real. When her characters fall in love, it's electric. When they cheat on one another, it's heart breaking. When one gets sick, it's terrifying. The lives of these characters could be my friends and family, or they could be me. The situations are believa
Manik Sukoco
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book drew me in with promises of humor and a trajectory of family growth and development in the age of the sexual revolution. What I got in turn was a weak, depressing, unfulfilled snooze-fest of festering self-loathing and self-pity among the members of this sad, pathetic excuse for a family. The idea of "loving" parents couldn't have been more antithetical in this book. These parents loved no-one but themselves. And it wasn't because of their love of sexual exploration. It was that they d ...more
Jan 22, 2008 rated it liked it
I love character-driven fiction, but this is pretty character-heavy/plot-lite even for me.

The story here is great, but the set-up is tough: picking up 30 years after a particular event -- four children discovering that their parents had written, posed for, and would become famous for a sex guide -- makes it difficult to really go into much depth.

Each of the main characters, particularly the children, are supremely messed up, but Wolitzer is kind of asking her reader to do her a favor and just go
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-on-kindle
What a difficult book to rate! First let's start with the (in my opinion) pretty weird premise for a book.

In the 1970s, a husband and wife who have 4 children decide to write a book about their sex life complete with pictures and one of the kids discovers the book and shares it with his siblings. So now all 4 children have seen graphic pictures of their parents having sex.

Despite this really weird beginning for a book, it is very well-written and as the book continues by following the lives of t
Bessie James
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The premise of this book stretchs your credulity -- how would it feel to be the children of a couple that produced a famous sex manual, replete with life-like drawings of your parents coupling in various positions? Meg Wolitzer pulls this off with panache. She develops a wide cast of characters that react to the situation in different, but understandable ways. The writing is clear, and sometimes gorgeous. I will look for more of her work.
Julia Fierro
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book. Funny, smart, revealing, thought-provoking. It's one of those rare books you wish you could forget, so you could read it again for the first time! ...more
Aug 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
eh... it sounded like an interesting story line but it really lacked anything significant or meaningful. I didn't find it to be funny, happy or sad. Just boring. ...more
Magdalena Wajda
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I like the author, so I was optimistic and intrigued when reaching for this book.
Initially, it got me interested, then it got a bit boring, over-stretched, overly focused on sex, depression, antidepressants, psychology... Very East Coast, very New Yorkish, tedious, I thought.
Fortunately halfway through it got interesting again.
The book tells the story of a bit dysfunctional, a bit weird family. The parents wrote a wildly successful book with sex advice, a modern-day American Kamasutra ;) And
Amy Carter
Nov 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Typical of Meg Wolitzer, this book follows several people through many years of their lives. However, I didn’t love it as much as I enjoyed her other books. It felt a little laborious and overly focused on sex. (Makes sense for the context of the plot, but it just seemed heavy-handed.) Still interesting and well-written, but not my favorite of hers.
Donna Jaskolski
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read something from Meg, and chose this particular book for no particular reason. I enjoyed how she crafted the characters and family. She created the story on one event and how it impacted each member of the family through their entire lives. Looking forward to reading more of her work.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Finish what you start. Even if what you started was a truly awful book by Meg Wolitzer. I liked The Interestings and thought I'd read another one of her other books. This one sounded a little racy and salacious (not my typical type of book choice) and the theme seemed interesting to me. However, it was beyond boring. My advice to my Goodreads friends is to skip it. ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For someone whose favourite genre is character and plot heavy writing, this book was a thorough mental exercise for me. I completely enjoyed the indulgent story coupled with intelligent writing. It was difficult to detach from the plot of the book and I found the characters following me in my everyday life. It’s a book that covers how each member of the family reacts to a certain book written by the parents while throwing light on the personality and life of each of the family members. A thoroug ...more
Matara Scott
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So full of truths <3
Tim Pinckney
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
It's a great premise and a fun read. The parents write (and pose for) a sex manual (Think Joy of Sex) and the impact its success has on their marriage and their four young children. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Der Sprung
  • Generation Haram
  • Nothing But Blue Sky
  • The World Inside
  • Dad
  • Fast Genial
  • Komplett Gänsehaut
  • Angekommen: Von der Suche nach dem guten Leben
  • Die Wälder
  • Minna von Barnhelm
  • La pioggia non spegne il desiderio
  • Weihnachten in Cornwall
  • Clever Girl
  • Identitti
  • Riverside: Christusnovelle
  • Mike Nichols: A Life
  • Mein Leben in Aspik
  • Sleepless
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times–bestselling author of The Interestings, The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, The Wife, and Sleepwalking. She is also the author of the young adult novel Belzhar. Wolitzer lives in New York City.

Related Articles

  Author Lydia Denworth is a science journalist who has written about everything from Alzheimer’s to zebrafish. In her latest book,...
47 likes · 10 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“No one had told her this would happen, that her girlishness would give way to the solid force of wifehood, motherhood. The choices available were all imperfect. If you chose to be with someone, you often wanted to be alone. If you chose to be alone, you often felt the unbearable need for another body - not necessarily for sex, but just to rub your foot, to sit across the table, to drop his things around the room in a way that was maddening but still served as a reminder that he was there.” 21 likes
“All of the women in that time and place, Thea had learned, were stuffed into muslin and starched cotton and forced to sit ramrod-straight and plait their hair or pull it back off their faces with fish oil. There were shoes that laced up with a hundred eyelets, and corsets that required a special hook to open. Women were all in it together back then, as opposed to now, when one woman's experience could differ so greatly from another's that you never knew who you were talking to.” 1 likes
More quotes…