The F-word discussion

A Short History of Women
This topic is about A Short History of Women
44 views
GROUP READS > December FICTION selection A SHORT HISTORY OF WOMEN

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Alexa (AlexaNC) A novel with a quite interesting title!


Alexa (AlexaNC) Has anybody been able to start this yet (or even read it already)? Anybody have any first impressions to share?


message 3: by El (new) - rated it 2 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
Got a copy from the library recently. Just need to finish up one other book for another group, and then I'll be starting this one (and hopefully Zami as well). I'm curious to see what this one will be like. I tend to read books without knowing much of their details - sometimes that works out well and sometimes not. :)


Alexa (AlexaNC) Yes, I prefer approaching a book knowing absolutely nothing about it - that way my experience isn't colored too much ahead of time.

I will mention something that is obvious just from glancing at the table of contents and the immediately following family tree; (view spoiler)


message 5: by El (new) - rated it 2 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
I started reading this during my breakfast at work this morning, so I'm not very far into it. But already there are a lot of names thrown around, and I wonder how many of them are "important" enough to remember. It could just be that it's early and my brain isn't fully awake yet, but... :)


Alexa (AlexaNC) Yeah, I'm not really engaging much with it yet myself. I did really like the lecture she attends in Chapter 2. It's funny, listening to it as a modern reader, yet I was sort of disappointed that the author doesn't quite make clear the observer's opinion. It's kind of weird, because all this stuff about the "special role and qualities" of women can be so nauseating to listen to today (serious flashback to The Female Man), yet I have the impression that this was kind of a bedrock argument of some of the suffragettes - just my impression, so I was wondering if anybody else was better informed.


Alexa (AlexaNC) The episodic construction of this is giving the whole thing a rather ethereal quality that I'm finding difficult to connect to. Moments here and there shine for me, but then before I've noticed we've moved on again.


message 8: by El (new) - rated it 2 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
Alexa wrote: "The episodic construction of this is giving the whole thing a rather ethereal quality that I'm finding difficult to connect to. Moments here and there shine for me, but then before I've noticed we'..."

Yeah, I fully agree with the difficulty to connect. At first I thought it was because there were so many different characters, but that's not really the case because that occurs in a lot of other books I've read. But I feel the issue here is I can't connect to any of them and I'm not sure if the author could either. It's the strangest thing - I feel this should be an opportunity to have a lot of really strong things to say, and maybe that was her plan when she wrote it, but it really comes across as lackluster. It's not a good time for me when I don't feel the author is very emotionally connected to her characters either.

Maybe I'm just not having good luck with this one.


message 9: by El (new) - rated it 2 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
Alright, now that I've finished reading, I'm disappointed all around. Here was another missed opportunity in that I felt the stories (chapters, episodes, whatever) moved too quickly for us to get any real grasp on any of the women, and the fact that they all had similar names (as previously mentioned) only compounded the frustration in reading it.

But more than that, I don't feel Walbert delved much below the surface to investigate her characters or their circumstances, and that is where the real opportunity was missed. I don't have any better grasp on women in history now than I did before I read it, and that's a shame, especially considering the title. It almost seems that what Walbert was saying was "Here's the history of women... and it's boring." What would be the purpose of that? I don't think that really was her intention, but sadly that's what I got out of it and what her message seemed to be.

Bummer to be down on it. It wasn't written poorly, per se, but I was not invested at all. I'd love to hear other thoughts - maybe someone can convince me I missed something here.


Alexa (AlexaNC) El wrote: "..."Here's the history of women... and it's boring."..."

Well put!

There was so, so much that she didn't tell us, and then so much superficial stuff that she did tell us.

For example we see bits inside the first Dorothy's head, but never even a hint of her motivation. It's as if there was a great outline for a story here, but then she filled it up with insignificant minutiae. There were a handful of moments with potential, but then she just left them lying there.

Yep, disappointed.


message 11: by April (new)

April | 8 comments El wrote: "Alexa wrote: "The episodic construction of this is giving the whole thing a rather ethereal quality that I'm finding difficult to connect to. Moments here and there shine for me, but then before I'..."

Yes, that explains what I felt, the ideas are worthwhile.


back to top