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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Interestings, a big, electric, multilayered novel about women and power and the three intense relationships that determine the course of one young woman's life.

Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at 60 and a central pillar of the women's movement for decades, is a figure who inspires others to change the world and make the most of themselves. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer - madly in love with her devoted boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can't quite place - is awestruck.

As Faith leads Greer down the most purposeful path of her life - and as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and interferes with her postcollege bond with her female best friend - Greer must question whether her idolatry is founded. Where is the line between the personal and the public? Where does Faith end, and where does Greer begin?

Charming and wise, knowing and witty, Meg Wolitzer returns with a novel about power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition. At its heart, The Female Persuasion is about the spark we all believe is flickering inside of us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time. It's a story about the people who guide and the people who follow (and how those roles evolve over time) and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.

©2018 Meg Wolitzer (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Quitting 3 hours in and returning it

I feel like the Wolitzer sat down and said, "Hmmmm. What's a current issue that needs addressing?" And decided on feminism. Not that I disagree. I totally agree. 15 years ago when I was teaching college freshman, in one of my classes, I asked the young women how many of them considered themselves feminists. Not one of them raised a hand. Their opinion of feminism was either negative or they thought it wasn't needed because women were already equal to men, there were no issues between men and women that needed fixing, and there was no need for it anymore. I was appalled and (rare for me) speechless. I wonder what those women think now in our current political climate and the MeToo Movement.

Unfortunately, despite good writing, this feels like a lecture on feminism that Wolitzer tried to make a story out of. The target audience seems to be white, privileged, college-aged girls who know nothing about feminism, what harassment is, what objectification is, etc., and know equally little about themselves.

There was one line about the "male gaze" that the main character initially thought was the "male gays." She actually had to listen to the conversation for a while before she understood it was "male gaze" and what that meant.

There is clearly an audience who probably needs this book, but I'm a few decades too old to be anything but annoyed at being lectured to and listening to a story about a clueless, white 18-yr-olds. This is probably unfair of me since I stopped at hour 3. Maybe it gets better. Maybe it turns out to be excellent. But having read Wolitzer's The Interestings (which was at least interesting) and spending most of that very long book annoyed at the mostly whiny, privileged, New Yorkers...I'm not going to finish a book that is not even interesting.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

not a grand political statement, but that’s okay

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I loved this book’s subtlety. Its strength rests on the questions it refuses to answer. Can feminism overcome its generational differences? Are newer waves of feminist thought and action doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past? Is Faith Frank a sellout or a realist? I read several reviews of this book after finishing it and many of the reviewers seemed to fault it for its lack of a ham-fisted political message (and I’m not sure reviewer from Jezebel even read the book at all). Wolitzer is an expert at world-building and character development. I felt deeply invested in the fates of Greer, Faith, Cory, and Zee, even though not a lot happened in terms of plot twists and drama. The narration was excellent, especially the rendering of Faith Frank. If you enjoyed THE INTERESTINGS you’ll get a lot out of THE FEMALE PERSUASION, just don’t expect it to make any grand revelations about feminism or contemporary politics.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Moments of brilliance, but not overall.

Overly descriptive and so slow to start moving. The main character story that I liked was Cory's. His (the male character....) was moving.

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A damn fine read

This is a damn fine read. It's essentially a coming of age story - how a girl whose parents are kind but absent (stoned) hippies goes from uber-achiever in high school, to a woke and ambitious young feminist in New York City with the requisite idealism/celebrity worship, to a self-aware and thoughtful woman.

All of her characters are deeply believable and well-crafted, even the minor characters. Even if you get mad at one, you still root for them.

Wolitzer does a spectacular job drawing the atmosphere of college life at one of these elite institutions - what the friendships are like, how a person comes to learn about wider injustices and form the belief system that will carry them through life, what happens to the friendships when subjected to the "real" world.

Wolitzer also does a great job capturing the arc of hero worship to mentor to betrayal that can happen in so many female mentoring relationships.

My only slight concern was that the ending had a bit of that 19th century "why yes, dear reader, I married him" flavor, albiet with a twist. A little too much having-it-all, a baby thrown in for good measure. Not all of us want a kid.

Enjoyed this well-crafted book immensely and will check out her other work.

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Excellent story and reading of it

I loved this book . As a 64 year old but feel much younger, I only lately have begun to think of myself as a feminist. I was stuck in a very bad marriage more like an addiction for 47 years - since 15 . I need to hear more stories about women to completely heal . Thank you for this one!!

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Gave it 2 hours.... didn’t want to waste anymore time.

Main character is unlikeable and comes across incredibly entitled when it comes to her parents role in her schooling. Too many women struggle paying for their own schooling and having to maintain a job on top of a good grade point average. I’d rather read about that strength and determination behind those struggles when it comes to feminism. Felt like an excuse for a generation of millennial whininess and it’s not ever cute.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not at all what I expected...it was better

Any additional comments?

“There are some people who have such a strong effect on you, even if you have spent very little time with them, they become embossed inside of you and any hint of them, any mention of them creates a stir inside of you.”

This was not at all what I was thinking it would be. I could not stop and read it in one day. It’s a great story that shows so many different points of views through the lenses of the different characters.

I love the ending where she talks about how maybe that’s what we as women are supposed to do, pour ourselves into each other...not giving too much...but enough to help build each other up!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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No new ahas

characters not unique or well defined. the fact that in chapter 7+ city cited was pronounce Quita rather than Quito really annoyed me specially since that city is my birthplace

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Could put it down.

Loved it! Almost didn't pre order this. Glad I did. It's not a typical fEminist rant.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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It’s good

I wasn’t bored. Liked the auxiliary characters better than the main one, who was kind of whiny & annoying, but overall this book was a good read, a great listen, I don’t regret reading it but Im not about to shout it from the rooftops or anything. Better than most that’s out there but not my favorite book of the year.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful