Life So Far: A Memoir

February 7, 2020 - Comment

It was Betty Freidan herself, in Life So Far, who spoke about her life and career and told us what it was all like from the inside. With the unsparing frankness that made The Feminine Mystique one of the most influential books of the century, Friedan looked back and told us what it took, and

Buy Now! $10.52Amazon.com Price
(as of February 7, 2020 2:48 am GMT+0000 - Details)

It was Betty Freidan herself, in Life So Far, who spoke about her life and career and told us what it was all like from the inside. With the unsparing frankness that made The Feminine Mystique one of the most influential books of the century, Friedan looked back and told us what it took, and what it cost, to change the world. She took us on an intimate journey through her life, from her lonely childhood to the founding of NOW and her brilliant, contentious, and brave leadership of the Movement. Life So Far chronicles the secret underground of women in Washington in the early sixties who drafted Friedan to spearhead an “NAACP” for women, and the daring of many who spoke out against discrimination. Friedan recounts the political infighting and dirty tricks that occurred within the Movement as well as the forces that tried to destroy it and how hard she fought to keep the Movement practical and free of extremism, including “man-hating” Friedan is equally frank about her twenty-two-year marriage to an advertising entrepreneur, which deteriorated into physical abuse. They later reconciled as friends. Life So Far is forthright, full of stories and larger-than-life characters, and it is the scope of Friedan’s vision and achievements that makes her memoir so important and compelling.Betty Friedan has given us another terrific and bravely written book–this time, it’s a personal memoir from a woman who changed the world. Her many professional accomplishments are detailed here, from her beginning as a labor reporter to the creation of The Feminine Mystique and the organization of NOW, as well as all the fascinating travel, marches, writings, and controversies that have become her career. Told with characteristic straightforwardness, her personal and professional lives are comfortably mixed in every chapter: the death of the ERA occurred at the same time she found her dream home, and Indira Gandhi and Friedan had a relationship that mixed political admiration with a similar fashion sense. Her messy divorce and lack of child support is detailed without bitterness, while her well-publicized differences with Phyllis Schlafly are described in an illuminating and entertaining manner. The tone is both intelligent and conversational–there are no heroes in this book, but no one is a total villain either. Personal recollections of various politicians, activists, and events offer strong opinions, such as Friedan’s belief that the National Women’s Conference of 1977 was nearly derailed by right-wing ERA opposition, rather than the unexpected lesbian-rights organization that presented itself so strongly during the Houston convention. Divisions within the larger force of feminism are addressed simply–Friedan is first a pragmatist, and was often at odds with the famous sexual-politic theorists of the ’70s. Wise and encouraging, Life So Far is a fascinating read for feminists and fans of all varieties. –Jill Lightner

Comments

Write a comment

*