REVIEW: MY LIFE, MY BODY, BY MARGE PIERCY

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In her series of essays, My Life, My Body, Marge Piercy delves into issues that are familiar to me, from reading her various fictional pieces.

She is also a poet, but I gravitate more to her novels. Like the protagonists in those various novels, Piercy writes about social issues like homelessness, living off the grid, feminism, gentrification, and aging.

Women’s issues predominate in her fictional work, as well as in this book. These issues resonate with me, and keep me buying her various books.

The first novel I read by this author was Small Changes, and I shared my thoughts about it in a book club I had joined. The book had a profound effect on my life. “Set against the early days of the modern feminist movement, SMALL CHANGES tells the story of sensual Miriam Berg, who trades her doctorate for marriage and security, but still hungers for a life of her own and shy, frightened Beth who is running from the life Miriam seeks and into a new world of different ideas and a different kind of love…..”

The ideas and philosophies that I have discovered in her fiction are touched on in this collection of essays, so this book will also join the novels on my bookshelves. Books I will keep even when I’m purging my shelves. Marge Piercy is a writer who seems to “speak to me.” 5 stars.

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REVIEW: MY LIFE ON THE ROAD, BY GLORIA STEINEM

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In her latest memoir, Gloria Steinem shares her experiences as a writer, journalist, and organizer, which also include some of her stories from political campaigns. But years before she took to the road, she had learned to love the life from her father, a man who wanted nothing more than the adventures of the road, perhaps to escape his overly orderly childhood.

My own experiences following Steinem’s adventures began back in the 1970s, when she co-founded Ms. Magazine…and when her feminist philosophies led me and many of my friends into consciousness-raising groups, where we found our voice. In many ways, I can point to my own growth as an independent woman because of leaders like Steinem, who showed us the way, speaking calmly and insightfully despite the hatred of extremists. I clearly recall how I felt as I listened to her speak in the early 1970s, when she toured university campuses and arrived at the one I was attending. She became the iconic voice of my generation, the ideal and rational tribute to what could be if we were brave enough to try.

My Life on the Road reveals much about how Steinem’s sphere of influence grew, as she shared how she feared public speaking, but eventually discovered her fears could be lessened when she began telling her stories and also listening to those of others. She found her energy in listening and in figuring out shared solutions.

Anecdotes about her experiences fill the pages of this captivating book, and kept me reading, hoping to learn more. Each section includes parts that go back and forth through time, in a non-linear fashion, illustrating the points of each one. In some ways, it felt as though there was so much information that it will take another reading to fully grasp what she had to say. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this tome for followers of Steinem’s work, as well as for those who are curious. 5 stars.