Women like Us

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Women Like Us traces the lives of four women from their undergraduate days at Sarah Lawrence College in the late 1950s through the colorful and varied histories of their boyfriends, jobs, husbands, children, divorces, friendships, rivalries, failures, and successes to the present. It is a novel brimming with the lives of a group of women caught between two generations: too restless for the pieties of the fifties, too early for the revolution of the sixties. In rejecting Ben for the beautiful but feckless Gerrit, ...
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Overview

Women Like Us traces the lives of four women from their undergraduate days at Sarah Lawrence College in the late 1950s through the colorful and varied histories of their boyfriends, jobs, husbands, children, divorces, friendships, rivalries, failures, and successes to the present. It is a novel brimming with the lives of a group of women caught between two generations: too restless for the pieties of the fifties, too early for the revolution of the sixties. In rejecting Ben for the beautiful but feckless Gerrit, Daisy establishes a pattern of "all for love" that, despite her talent and intelligence, will haunt her life. Gina, the class square, focuses on her career rather than love. Franca's marriage collapses under the weight of children and her husband's experimentation with open marriage. Delphine, the leader of the clique, astonishes all by marrying before her graduation. Women Like Us captures the lives of a generation of women who at thirty were overtaken by the feminist revolution, when all the rules changed, and who have been running to catch up ever since. In the tradition of Marilyn French, Erica Jong, Judith Rossner, and Gail Godwin, Erica Abeel has written an unforgettable story; in it, every woman is sure to recognize something of her own life.

They met at Sarah Lawrence College, at a time when the world seemed to shine with possibility--beautiful Delphine, talented Daisy, practical Gina and gentle Franca. Four women determined to defy convention--to lead glorious lives and build careers, and never stand in a man's shadow. Which one of them will make stunning sacrifices in the name of love?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Smart, snappy and compulsively readable, Abeel's first novel (her columns were collected in I'll Call You Tomorrow ) traces the lives of four women in the class of 1958 at Sarah Lawrence College through three decades of social upheaval and personal angst. The four consider themselves rebels at college because they plan to ignore the prevalent '50s attitude that a woman is fulfilled only through marriage. Though each covets a career in the arts, they unconsciously define themselves mainly through their amorous encounters and search for permanent relationships. Delphine, the flamboyant leader of the group, is the first to be betrayed by sexual longing; she marries early, to a self-obsessed architect, and later turns down her dream job as editor-in-chief of a publishing company to follow her husband to Texas. Daisy abandons her plan to be a dancer in favor of writing a novel, but mistakes in love and the need to earn a living and support her children thwart her ambitions. Franca chooses marriage over other options twice, stealing the man who loves Daisy in the process. Ironically, the least talented of them, mouselike, insecure Ginny Goldberg, remakes herself as Gina Gold and becomes a TV celebrity. This silent generation are ``the casualties of history'': having predated the feminist revolution, some of them later buy the promises of women's lib, falling out of marriage into poverty and complete dislocation. Writing with wit and perception, Abeel makes her characters' parallel lives an absorbing saga of heartaches and successes (though she earns shock value at the expense of credibility when some events slide into melodrama.) (Feb.)
Library Journal
Four catty, self-assured Sarah Lawrence graduates (class of 1958) find themselves ``out on their ass'' when the men they built their lives around have had enough. These brassy but damaged ``women like us,'' after neglecting their careers and self-esteem, are left foundering during the feminist-driven Seventies and Eighties. Confused and self-destructive, they survive, buoyed by booze, bitch sessions, and bouts in and out of bed with their exploiters. The members of ``the group'' in this novel are so alike that they become indistinguishable, as their exploits intertwine and blur. The story line is disjointed, zigzagging from one improbable encounter to the next pointless disaster. Despite some embittered humor and an entertaining sprinkle of nostalgic setting details, Abeel's ( Only When I Laugh , LJ 7/78) ``class reunion'' remains a scrambled rehash of dated themes. A second choice even for libraries with comprehensive women's collections.-- Carol A. McAllister, Coll. of William & Mary Lib., Williamsburg, Va.
Theresa Ducato
In much the same way that Mary McCarthy's novel "The Group" dealt with women of the 1930s, Abeel writes about women of the 1950s. Daisy, Gina, Franca, and Delphine graduate from Sarah Lawrence in 1958 only to be overtaken by feminism, when all the rules change and blur their lives. The fates of these four women are often determined by their jobs, husbands, and lovers, but after 30 years of setbacks, false starts, and downright disasters in and out of marriages and careers, they persevere to rebuild their lives, knowing now that they were blown off course by their own faulty compasses. All four must come to terms with past upheavals, accept new identities, and realize the world is, after all, rich in consolations. Every woman is sure to recognize something of her own experience in this compelling novel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312955069
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 451
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.81 (h) x 1.21 (d)

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