And Then I Said “Nope”: Reviewing Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion

I’m going to keep this short, because I did not read The Female Persuasion in its entirety.  In fact, I stopped about twenty-five percent of the way through.

I checked an e-book version of this novel out of the library because The New York Times listed it as one of the best books of 2018, and I make an effort every year to wade through all of the year’s best books as declared by The NYT because goals are good.  Also, I liked Wolitzer’s The Wife, even though I spotted the big plot twist about halfway through.

ANYHOODLE.  I was enjoying The Female Persuasion.  I thought Wolitizer was doing a marvelous job of examining how we give up important pieces of ourselves in order to impress others.  And then she introduced a little boy to the story — very cute, very precocious.  I immediately thought, “This kid is toast.”

But how could that be? The novel I was reading didn’t seem to have any place for a dead kid.  And it wasn’t like this boy was suffering from some terminal disease.  I told myself I was smelling plot devices where none existed.

Yeah.  The kid dies.

As I was reading The Female Persuasion on my laptop, I couldn’t very well throw the book across the room, but I wanted to.  I’m a mom to two little kids — very cute, very precocious.  I don’t like having dead kids sprung on me in the middle of a novel, especially when the death of the kid is very clearly a plot device.

The New York Times calls The Female Persuasion one of the best books of 2018.  I was certainly enjoying it, until Wolitzer decided to up and off a kid.  So, if you’re a softie like me, take that “one of the best books of 2018” thing with a grain of salt and maybe skip the novel altogether.

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