Your audiobook is waiting…

The Female Persuasion

A Novel
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,146 ratings)
Regular price: $24.50
$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller!

New York Times Notable Book of 2018

One of People Magazine’s Top Ten Books of 2018

One of USA Today’s Top Ten Books of 2018

“Ultra-readable.” (Vogue)

“Equal parts cotton candy and red meat, in the best way.” (People)

“Wolitzer’s social commentary can be as funny as it is queasily on target.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Wolitzer is one of those rare writers who creates droll and entertaining novels of ideas.” (Fresh Air, NPR)

From The New York Times best-selling author of The Interestings comes an electric novel not just about who we want to be with but who we want to be.

To be admired by someone we admire - we all yearn for this: the private, electrifying pleasure of being singled out by someone of esteem. But sometimes it can also mean entry to a new kind of life, a bigger world.

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 63, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer - madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place - feels her inner world light up. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she’d always imagined.

Charming and wise, knowing and witty, Meg Wolitzer delivers a novel about power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition. At its heart, The Female Persuasion is about the flame 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

Critic Reviews

"Avid readers of Wolitzer's work won't be disappointed by this new audiobook. The subject matter is timely, and Rebecca Lowman's narration is perfect.... In fact, Lowman often crosses into that ineffable narrative zone wherein she herself disappears and the story alone takes center stage.... Lowman always returns the listener to an empathetic place with warmth and skill." (AudioFile)

"The novel could not be any more timely, even though its length and the completeness of its world suggest to me that it must have been conceived before the recent upheavals and protests.... The Female Persuasion has gone straight into my library of favorite novels ever, on a shelf next to David Copperfield, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Lonesome Dove, and Love in the Time of Cholera." (Nick Hornby) 

"A dynamic, sprawling novel...Wolitzer has always been expert at capturing an emotion in a single image, and in this book she luxuriates in her skill." (The Atlantic)

"[Wolitzer is] old-fashioned in the best sense, a spiritual descendant of writers like Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë. Her novels blend philosophical matters with acute social commentary, grappling with ideas as robust as the characters she brings to life." (Wall Street Journal Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    505
  • 4 Stars
    352
  • 3 Stars
    200
  • 2 Stars
    55
  • 1 Stars
    34

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    628
  • 4 Stars
    280
  • 3 Stars
    113
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    19

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    434
  • 4 Stars
    319
  • 3 Stars
    206
  • 2 Stars
    59
  • 1 Stars
    42
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Preachy

Another reviewer called this book "strident." I would call it "preachy." I've been a feminist as long as the character Faith Frank and so wasn't fearful of the strident label as many feminists are called that even when they make a small polite peep of truth. This book, while truthful, is tedious and boring in its attempt to describe a history of how some leaders of the women's movement have tried to help women, with lots of information about feminist perspectives on women's issues. I haven't read anything else by this author but know that writers are supposed to "show" and not just "tell." There is too much telling, often in the thoughts of characters. For example, while it is true that the economy pushes women to spend too much money and time on beauty, a polemic about this in the thoughts of a character is not the stuff of fiction but rather non-fiction. And so on. In addition there is a tinge of sentimentality about it all that is hard to define but seems to have something to do with the narrative performance. That said, the best parts are about how the characters react and change according to what happens to them, especially Cory and Zee, but not especially Greer and Faith, who are burdened with thinking and speaking, but mostly thinking, feminist rhetoric.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I'm persuaded

Meg Woltizer's The Female Persuasion is a smart, well-written novel. The narration is also really good. I'd put this novel in the same category as novels like The Marriage Plot by Eugenides and Purity by Jonathan Franzen. Her writing style and subject matter is reminiscent of these two works, though I'm not sure it's quite as good as either of them. It is, however, a really good novel, and I was engaged the entire way through. It's much more than a book about feminism. I do recommend it.

Overall rating: 4.31 stars

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

65 of 77 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!!

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Katerina
  • south hadley, MA, USA
  • 09-02-18

I am a Wolitzer fan and I was very disappointed

Oof, I had such hope for this book because I've loved several of her other novels. I could hardly wait for this one to be over, though. It tried SO HARD to be a statement about our times, about different generations of feminism, about a certain class of American women. And it was precisely because it tried so hard to make a statement, rather than be art, that it failed me so.

Wolitzer has complained that contemporary women writers aren't taken as seriously as male counterparts. With this novel she has successfully joined the ranks of Franzen and other authors of charted plot lines and workshopped characters with clever names, but she didn't succeed to reach deep and say something new, much less to delight. At least not this reader.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

So/so

The narrator seems to have pronounced Quito as Quita which was frustrating. Plot encompassed many aspects or lessons of feminism but felt forced and often unbelievable. Also -it felt like it was a book written about a millennial by utilizing stereotypes - just empty of real depth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

quita???

I lived in Ecuador and to continually refer to the capitol as Quita was unforgivable.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Louise
  • 06-05-18

A little slow moving to begin with

Great narrator, going from different tones for each character. Alot of female issues through the decades address.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jenny Le Noel
  • 11-28-18

a little disappointed

struggled to finish. I thought it would be an interesting read from a feminist perspective but ultimately after some nice observations it did not deliver....I Hated the narrator ans found it hard to persevere