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Life So Far: A Memoir
ISBN 0684807890 / 9780684807898 / 0-684-80789-0
Publisher Simon & Schuster
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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 [via]