Rebecca's Reviews > Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

Of Woman Born by Adrienne Rich
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really liked it
bookshelves: feminist, memoirs, parenting-or-not, skimmed

This is an excellent book about the myths and stereotypes surrounding motherhood, contrasted with the reality of Rich’s experience as a mother of three sons. It is an academic-level work and can be fairly heavy going, which is why I started skimming at about page 55 (though I did slow down and read in its entirety the late chapter that felt most relevant to me, “Motherhood and Daughterhood”). Though it was originally published in 1976, we’re still in thrall to the patriarchal system of motherhood that Rich describes and dates back to the dawn of monotheistic religion. She writes about the bodily reality of motherhood and the crisis of purpose for both mothers and non-mothers: is becoming a mother really the only marker of a woman’s success? How can a separate identity as an artist be carved out and sustained? New books about motherhood arrive every year – I’m looking forward to Sheila Heti’s, for instance – but it’s hard to imagine one more complete and profound than this.
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Reading Progress

October 1, 2017 – Shelved
October 1, 2017 – Shelved as: feminist
October 1, 2017 – Shelved as: memoirs
October 10, 2017 – Shelved as: on-hold
October 10, 2017 – Shelved as: parenting-or-not
November 27, 2017 –
page 56
17.39% ""There is nothing revolutionary whatsoever about the control of women's bodies by men. The woman's body is the terrain on which patriarchy is erected.""
December 6, 2017 – Shelved as: skimmed

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I've just been reading some of Rich's other prose on lesbianism and feminism. This sounds like a must-read for me.

Rebecca I'd only ever read her poetry before (two collections).

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