Small Changesby Marge Piercy
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
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 ow,n and shy, frightened Beth who is running from the life Miriam
"Marge Piercy is a raw, tough, willfull, magnificent novelist."
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
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 ow,n 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.....
- Random House Publishing Group
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It must be fifteen years since I first read this, but it still stands out as one of the most important books I've ever read. The development of character from home-town innocent to wiser adult is profoundly felt. The dialog is white-hot at times, the anger leaps off the page. Few books have as much emotional truth. One friend I persuaded to read it find the writing a bit wordy, but I find it easy to dip back into it and enjoy once more. A great big rich beef stew of a book, steaming and nourishing.
This title was originally published in 1973 during the second wave of feminism that followed the US Civil Rights movement, and then the anti-war movement against the US invasion of Vietnam. Marge Piercy is a prominent veteran writer who spoke to women’s issues during that time and in years to follow. She doesn’t need my review, and neither does Open Road Integrated Media, I suspect, but my thanks go to them and Net Galley for letting me reread this wonderful novel digitally. I received this copy free in exchange for an honest review, but the reader should also know that I came to this galley with a strong, strong affinity for Piercy’s work already, and my bookshelves are lined with paperbacks and hard cover copies of her books. But they are thick and sometimes heavy to the arthritic hand, and it’s a joy to be able to read them on a slender electronic reader. It was released digitally April 12, 2016 and is available for purchase now. In 1973, many young adults had cast off the fetters of the impossibly repressive social relations of the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Their parents, on the other hand, were frequently entrenched in the mores that had been with them all of their lives, and felt threatened by the new ideas—some of which were actually pretty stupid—that many Boomer era teens and twenty-somethings embraced. Some notions that were new then are ones most of us now take for granted. Most of western civilization is no longer troubled, for example, by the idea that a woman may want to have a career, and that some women don’t want to have children. Most parents no longer speak of marrying a daughter as a way to transfer the expense of feeding and sustaining her from themselves to a man. But in 1973, these social mores were still really prevalent. So to readers younger than fifty, or perhaps younger than forty, some of Piercy’s text is going to appear to be over-the-top, a vast exaggeration. It isn’t. And I have to thank Piercy for the gift of her insights, which came to me while I was a young woman still determining what was and was not acceptable in my own relationships. The sly way Piercy makes her most prominent point is in following the lives of women, two in particular: Beth, who at the story’s outset, is indeed being “married off”, and Miriam, the least-favored child of the family who goes away to school and moves into a series of unconventional relationships. There’s a lot of the cultural flavor of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s here, and Piercy uses her narrative to describe ways in which even the most enlightened women, those seeking to build bonds with other women and support them as they set out to fulfill their dreams, nevertheless find themselves mired in unequal, sometimes physically and emotionally abusive relationships. Women that believe they have liberated themselves by refusing to marry, or by joining a commune and not being monogamous, nevertheless find themselves trapped in destructive situations. Piercy shows us how every woman in her story can see that a good friend is in a bad place; each woman doubts herself first when she starts to reconsider her own entanglements. Full review is at Seattle Book Mama on Word Press. For those with the stamina to read 500+pages, this iconic feminist narrative is a must read.
This story is about two women Beth and Miriam. Beth is marring her boyfriend from high school. He expects her to be the standard stay at home mother while he watches her maintain the house. But Beth has other dreams and she ends up running away to find herself. We also follow Miriam is a graduate from MIT and bounces around in her relationships. She is against the traditional opinion of marriage and makes her way. This story follows their different paths in life. This story is based in the 70’s when women were starting to reach out from their normal place of the house. I really like following along as Beth and Miriam are stretching and stepping out into the non-traditional roles that they were expected to be in. It was fascinating to follow along both of them as they find themselves in such different paths from where they started. I think this is a good book that shows a little of how women were changing roles in the 70’s. I think it’s a great story of no settling for a life of what everyone else expects you to live when you are not happy with it. I received Small Changes for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.