Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Follow up comment from author

Lovely comment from Meg Wolitzer today on the post I did for The Ten Year Nap.

Hi, it's the author here, Meg Wolitzer. I appreciate the multiplicity of responses to my novel. My main goal was to show what "it was like." I sort of kept that as a mantra as I worked, and I did hope that I didn't lapse into stereotypes, as some of you think perhaps I did. I felt that so much had been written hat took a severe position, and that, as a novelist, it simply wasn't my place. Obviously, what I saw was complicated. I didn't want to write a book hat came down like a hammer on women, or on the notion of work versus not-work. Instead, I hoped to look at motherhood and ambition through the same lens. I guess that sounds lofty, but it's the way I tried to write. I do appreciate the careful reads on this site. Thanks so much--Meg

April 2, 2008 7:21 AM

Thank you Meg for dropping by. I think you wrote an excellent book that is definitely controversial and still touches upon alot of women's sore points. I thank you for giving us such a lively post discussion on an issue that many people feel so personally

8 comments:

Merry Monteleone said...

oy, let me be the first to break the ice and admit that I'm an ass... Large apologies to the author, as I haven't read the book so none of my commentary should have been directed toward it or the political or social stance its characters portray.

The discussion itself wound down to various arguments leveled against or for women working or staying home - but I re-read my own statements and they weren't fair to a work of fiction, especially one I haven't read. I'm normally a big proponent of reader responsibility, so Ello's take on the work and my own might have been completely different...

Ello said...

Merry, you are not an ass! Don't say that! The discussion changed over to an important topic and did come off course with the book. I'm very glad we had a good discussion on this topic and glad that the book kickstarted it. And in fact, I have a good topic about stereotypes for tomorrow. I thought you made good statements and have nothing to apologize for. It was a worthy discussion and this is a good book.

JaneyV said...

I read through the the whole discussion yesterday. It was wonderful - the best blog discussion I've ever read. The whole comments section should be published. It was lively, passionate, intelligent - everything that we women are. Fascinating. Meg wanted to "look at motherhood and ambition through the same lens" - which is darn near impossible when one is often sacrificed for the other. Life for most people is a series of compromises. We will continue to meander through looking for a best-fit situation.

I. like most of the commentaries, am just heartily tired of people judging me for my choices. For me, Feminism gave me choices that my poor mother never had and I am grateful. I will return to work, on my own terms. However I would like to make the point that often women who stay at home for their kids, lose their confidence in their own abilities (again very little value given to skills required to be a SAHM) and are scared of the prospect of re-entering that world and not being as good at it as they used to be. To go back to a world you where you were once queen and only be mediocre - [shiver!] - and so let their own ambition and dreams slide.

There's more to life than work, there's more to life than motherhood, there's who we are inside and that needs to be honored too. Perhaps that's what the author was getting at...a little.

Mary Witzl said...

From the discussion your review generated, it is obvious that this is a subject that people feel passionate about. It is see that Meg Wolitzer picked a great, timely theme for her novel.

From my own experience, there is no one who doesn't have a strong opinion on this subject. Get a group of mothers together, some stay-at-home moms and some back-to-workers, and just sit back and listen! Both groups are keen to point out why they are doing it their way -- which is fine -- but too many of them fall into the temptation of pointing out the pitfalls of the other group's choices. Pretty soon it's down to "It's so important to be spend time with your children when they're so young!" versus "It's vital to pursue a career of your own and keep your own identity!" It's as though it isn't enough to do what is right for us; we must succeed in denigrating others' choices for full satisfaction.

And I say phooey to that...

I've been both stay-at-home mother and career mom now, so I am firmly ambivalent.

Erica Orloff said...

Hi Ello:
Haven't read the book. But what I firmly believe can perhaps be best summed up over on Stephen Parrish's blog today. Every single person, and every single woman, has a path to take, a life to live, and hopefully at the end, it looks kind of like Stephen describes it. I just never in my life looked an SAHMs with anything but respect. It is an undervalued avocation, and it deserves great admiration. I have never looked at career women and thought, "Well, those horrid bitches are leaving their poor babies at home--why bother having them?" The question is too personal and is some very complex mix of what feels right, the economy of a household, issues of marriage or partnerships, and so on.

I think I have the "best of both." As a full-time novelist, I am home with my four kids, whom I am devoted to, and I have a career I am passionate about. But I don't think there's a line in the sand between Us and Them as women. To me, it as insane as someone from one race marrying someone of another . . . and people taking a political stance on it, or someone making an intensely personal choice about religion, having a baby (or not) or any of dozens of other things. It's personal . . . and should be left in that arena.

Interesting discussion.

Charles Gramlich said...

That's cool. It's nice to see an author who doesn't get defensive and angry but who honestly approaches a review with feedback.

Demon Hunter said...

I haven't read the book, but now I'll have to check it out, Ello. :*)

Precie said...

I'm charmed by author Wolitzer's diplomacy and grace. "I hoped to look at motherhood and ambition through the same lens." I may have to read this book after all.

ello--between you and moonrat, my Amazon account must be on fire. sigh.