The Female Persuasion (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The Female Persuasion (B&N Exclusive Edition)

by Meg Wolitzer

Paperback(B&N Exclusive Edition)

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Featuring a reader’s guide and an exclusive personal essay from Meg Wolitzer on how age and generational differences influence our relationships, power, ambition, and our ideas about identity and womanhood.

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings, an electric, multilayered novel about ambition, power, friendship, and mentorship, and the romantic ideals we all follow deep into adulthood, not just about who we want to be with, but who we want to be.

To be admired by someone we admire - we all yearn for this: the private, electrifying pleasure of being singled out by someone of esteem. But sometimes it can also mean entry to a new kind of life, a bigger world.

Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women's movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer- madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can't quite place- feels her inner world light up. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she'd always imagined.

Charming and wise, knowing and witty, Meg Wolitzer delivers a novel about power and influence, ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition. At its heart, The Female Persuasion is about the flame we all believe is flickering inside of us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time. It's a story about the people who guide and the people who follow (and how those roles evolve over time), and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593086797
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/21/2019
Edition description: B&N Exclusive Edition
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 32,141
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings, The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, The Wife, and Sleepwalking. She is also the author of the young adult novel Belzhar. Wolitzer lives in New York City.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

May 28, 1959

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York


B.A., Brown University, 1981

Reading Group Guide

1. The Female Persuasion is about the relationship between a young woman and her mentor. What does Greer learn from Faith, and vice versa? In what ways do Greer and Faith surprise or disappoint each other? Have you ever had someone come into your life and change it forever?

2. Greer and Cory are high school sweethearts, but their romance is much deeper than their age might suggest. How do the social settings of their hometown and their families turn them into the couple that they are? Discuss the class differences between Greer’s family and Cory’s. How do family origins affect the characters’ ambitions?

3. Cory is entirely consumed by grief after a family tragedy. Talk about the ways in which grief can change a person’s goals. How does it alter Cory’s life path? What do you think about Greer’s reaction to Cory’s grief-induced changes? Is she right to give him space? Is he right to push her away? Could this moment in their relationship have gone any other way?

4. Compare Zee’s childhood with Greer’s. Have their backgrounds influenced the people they have grown up to be, or the decisions they make, or the ambitions they follow?

5. What do you think about Greer’s treatment of Zee and its effect on their friendship and their lives? Do you recognize Greer’s emotional response to the idea of sharing her job with Zee? Were you surprised by Zee’s reaction when she found out what really happened?

6. How has feminism changed between Faith’s youth and Greer’s youth? What do their generational differences show about the nature of progress? Discuss the portrayal of women’s advocacy as it evolves over the course of the book.

7. Faith Frank and Emmett Schrader have a long and complicated history. Do you empathize with Emmett’s character at any point? Do you judge Faith for accepting his funding?

8. At the end of the novel, Greer is forced to make a difficult decision about the Ecuador project. Do you think she makes the right choice? Would Faith have made the same choice if their roles were reversed?

9. Think about the way Faith and Greer’s relationship comes to an end. Do you think it’s for the best? Was it inevitable? By the end of the book, did you still love Faith Frank the way Greer did, despite her flaws, or had your opinion changed? Do you think it’s possible for Greer to move past her love for Faith, or will she always be haunted by it?

10. Wolitzer suggests that there are certain key people, events, and relationships that change the course of our lives. Obviously, Faith does this for Greer. Which other relationships might illustrate this kind of power? Think about Greer’s influence on Cory, and his on her; think about Zee’s life; think about Faith and Emmett. You might even think about Alby’s influence, long-term, on all of them.

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The Female Persuasion (The Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition) 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer is a highly recommended coming-of-age novel that follows a decade in the life of a young woman and explores friendship, relationships, ambition, and mentors. Greer Kadetsky is a freshman at Ryland College who is trying to keep a long-distance relationship going with her high school boy friend, Cory Pinto, who is attending Princeton. She has always been a bookish, intelligent, independent girl with parents who were more self-involved than parental. She was also accepted at and planning to attend an Ivy league school with Cory, but her parents messed up the financial aid form, which Greer still resents. When Greer gets groped at a frat party during her first weekend at college, she is hesitant to report it. Her politically savvy friend Zee urges her to, but she doesn't until other girls go through the same thing. When the university hearing on the matter results in no sanctions or actions, Greer and Zee are angry at their inability to address the actions of this young man. Greer and Zee are still angry when they go to hear the famous, charismatic feminist Faith Frank, sixty-three, speak on campus. Greer is mesmerized by Frank, asks her a question related to the groping incident, and the university's empty response to the charges. Later the two continue their discussion in the bathroom. Faith is taken by Greer, talks to the young woman and gives her her card. This leads to an opportunity after Greer graduates to work for the feminist icon at her new foundation, Loci, which sponsors conferences about women's issues. The writing is excellent. It is clear from the beginning that Wolitzer knows how to tell an entertaining and engaging story while keeping her plot moving forward. The Female Persuasion really becomes a saga as it follows Greer and the others through the decade. The narrative follows Greer, Cory, Faith, Zee, and another male character. These are all well-developed but flawed characters, with strengths and weaknesses. The characters are all distinctive and have their own individual voices. While Greer is the compelling central character, in some ways Cory is actually the more sympathetic and humane character. Is this the feminist blockbuster of our times? Well, I'm not convinced it is, but perhaps I'm too old for it. It is certainly a very good novel and I was engrossed in the story. I would agree that it explores embracing womanhood, yet also suffering because of it. All the young characters start out emotional, wanting to change the world, striving to make their mark on the world and do something. They are also can be a bit entitled, naive, and sometimes, well, whiny. I realize that they don't feel the need to acknowledge what women before them have experienced. "'Sisterhood,' she said, 'is about being together with other women in a cause that allows all women to make the individual choices they want.'" Although this sentiment was shared, it was never really embraced in the novel and perhaps that is what is bothering me. As women, we fought for the right to be individuals and to be able to voice our own opinions and be in charge of our own bodies. We don't need to throw that away by insisting that it means only these ideals or only a specific stand on certain issues. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing Group
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm considering building a video game where no one can find the plot to this book. People will search everywhere and it will go into excruciating detail about all the characters' back stories as well as forecast the details of their future. Gamers will try to guess what it is that will actually *happen* and keep playing and playing learning little cliches about how life is hard and disappointing but also sometimes kind of great. And sometimes the players will level up but it won't last, they'll end up going back down levels in confusion because, guess what? The game will have no plot, no way to win. No way to ever let the player succeed and I'm thinking that way players will *have to come back for more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I appreciate how th story unfolded but especially how it ended still somewhat unresolved. It was real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting read but not amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had great expectations of this novel. I hoped it would crack my head open and show me feminism as the great, untapped force that ultimately saves humanity from testosterone filled ruin. Alas, a slow developing plot, mundane set of characters, and absence of resolution of the few conflicts found in its pages left me still waiting for THAT book. Still, it's got enough to stir up a few, to draw out the haters, to inspire those looking for a way in to social change, and it is, for the most part, believable -- meaning, if you're a young person dreaming of changing the world, this primer in the institution of personal responsibility, activism, and the core difficulties built into our institutions that hold you back, might strike a chord that keeps resonating into your life and ends up helping bring us back from the unexpected caveman resurrection that events of 2016 forward enabled. I want my daughter to read this, and her smart friends, and then...well, let's see what her generation can do.
Laine-librariancanreadtoo More than 1 year ago
From the minute Greer was born she didn't have an easy life. Growing up with pot-headed parents who didn't really care that she was in the same room with her, Greer had to learn how to take care of herself and not depend on anyone. But there are a few things that parents should be able to take care of and one of those is helping their child get into the best schools, especially ones that the child has been dreaming about for years. Well, Greer doesn't have those kind of parents and she missed her shot for the school of her dreams. In all sense she feels like she missed out on a lot of things in her life. So it's sensible that she is angry with her folks, with the universe setting her up like this. Until her idol, Faith Frank, waltzes into her life and tells her she can do anything that she puts her mind too and not worry about the past. The past stays in the past, keep looking forward. Faith, a leader of women; an inspiration to anyone who wants to get a head in life, finds Greer interesting. Faith sees potential in Greer and wants to help her grow to be the young woman like Faith was. As Greer follows her mentor on the ups and downs of being a female in a male world, Greer learns so much. How to pursue what she wants and don't give a damn. How to finally see people for what they are worth while finding out how much she is worth. About how to forgive those who have forsaken her, all the while asking for forgiveness for what she has done as well. In the modern day society we acknowledge that women do have the potential to be all that in work and in home. We also acknowledge that women can't do everything by themselves either. We need support...whether it be from girlfriends, mentors, families, husbands, and even enemies, we just can't do it alone. What we need to remember though is that all of these people who are helping you and/or mentoring you, they are human themselves. And as we all know, humans make mistakes. Even heroes. ** Okay. This book is supposed to be an enlightening book for women to see what women are capable of in the workforce and a real feminist way of looking at things. And I, a female, was looking forward to such a thing. I for the life of me could NOT get into this book. I don't usually put in spoilers in my reviews but with this book I'm going to have to. The first half of this book is all about Greer (had a hard time with this name for a woman character) "finding" herself and experimenting with herself.....sexually. Half of it was about her and her boyfriend learning things sexually and then her being all mouse like with her friends and co-workers and everyone has to "help" her along. The reason I have a problem with this, is because she has read every book strong women have written and she sees what they accomplished a lot in their lives by grabbing life by the horns and she doesn't listen to them. She quotes them, but doesn't listen. Then, everything seems to fall in her lap...she meets her idol....she gets a job with her idol...she moves up magically in her job so fast and on and on. In a way it felt like this is the grown up version of Matilda except Greer doesn't have magical powers. To me, the ending was the best part of the book for she FINALLY started to stand up for herself and to see that not all mentors are their for YOUR benefit. But I had to get through the entire book just to get there and it was very tiring and I almost didn't finish it.
OwlishReader More than 1 year ago
*This book was given to me by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review* This book featured some fantastic writing, along with engaging characters; however, the plot was all over the place. This book did not follow a particular plot line and it felt like the whole time it was explaining all these things with the intention of making a point, but it never did. I would've enjoyed it more if this book had followed some kind plot that had a conflict and a resolution. The book did a great job of describing what feminism is to different people and showing the context of feminism (or lack thereof) in different kind of situations. It also did exceptionally well in showing the development of feminism ideals overtime in the United States. There a couple of parts where I found the characters to be very short-sighted when it came to there opinions on feminism. Even at the end, I don't think that Greer really had a full grasp on what equality means for all people; not just upper class white women. I did appreciate the growth that all the characters showed by the end of the book, especially Cory. Cory was hands down my favorite character. I did also enjoy the fact the Meg Wolitzer made it very clear that her characters are all flawed, even those that are held in the highest regard by society. Overall, I do recommend this book. It was certainly a joy to read, though it did drag on at some points. I don't think that I learned anything about feminism in particular, nor did I find myself in any of the characters. Perhaps, some people will and they will find their own flaws reflected in this book and will be able to achieve some kind of revelation while reading this. I did not, but it was still a pretty good book. Just not as great as I hoped it would be.
asherLR 12 days ago
This was recommended to me and I am not sure why. I could not find any reason to relate to the characters.
MaryHelenSheriff 8 months ago
The Female Persuasion is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a feminist and how that changes over time. Through the lens of Greer Kadetsky and her mentor Faith Frank, the novel explores themes of power, loyalty, and gender. The characters and story were enjoyable, but for me the real beauty of the novel was its exploration of feminism and the questions I was left considering. What does it mean to be a feminist? Does the end justify the means? Where should our efforts be focused? Do extremists help or hurt a cause? How does being female affect how I relate to the world? How does my being female affect how the world relates to me? How do we acknowledge and embrace what makes females unique while still demanding respect and equality? Wolitzer has done a tremendous job of weaving these heavy themes into an enjoyable story.
DeediReads More than 1 year ago
“Greer had noticed, when she was very young, how, looking straight ahead, you could sort of always see the side of your own nose. Once she realized this it began to trouble her. Nothing was wrong with her nose, but she knew it would always be part of her view of the world. Greer had understood it was hard to escape yourself, and to escape the way it felt being you.” I really, really enjoyed this one. The prose was musical and purposeful and hit you right in the feels, as they say. I thought it was great when I was reading it, but then I switched to audiobook and was even more blown away; the voice acting was a perfect match. “Your twenties were a time when you still felt young, but the groundwork was being laid in a serious way, crisscrossing beneath the surface. It was being laid even while you slept. What you did, where you lived, who you loved, all of it was like pieces of track being put down in the middle of the night by stealth workers.” Greer Kadetsky, at the beginning of the novel, is a new college freshman with a legitimate reason to have a grudge against her parents and a boyfriend, Cory, living the life she should have had (or rather, that they should have had together). She has big ideas, but hasn’t quite found her voice. But she does find friendship. She also finds the beginnings of a purpose after meeting Faith Frank, a former feminist figurehead. Then, after college, she finds her way into Faith’s employment and on a path that skyrockets her through her 20s. Along the way, tragedy strikes, mistakes are made, money talks, love hurts, and the world changes. And people change. And Greer changes. And it’s really, really beautiful. “There are some people who have such a strong effect on you, even if you’ve spent very little time with them, that they become embossed inside you, and any hint of them, any casual mention, creates a sudden stir in you.” I really loved the examination of the power of women’s relationships with one another. About how they lift each other up, and how they sometimes tear each other down a little. How they love each other, and how they sometimes don’t. But we need each other. Also, the characters were complex, and Wolitzer gave us everyone’s perspectives at least once. It painted a more complete picture of Greer’s world and everyone’s motivations. For example, at first I loved Cory, and then I kinda disliked him, and then I loved him again, and then I realized that this is how real people are. If you are big on really literary stories, especially those that involve women and the relationships between them, then this one is for you.
Mel-Loves-Books More than 1 year ago
“‘Whenever I give a talk at the colleges I meet young women who say, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’ By which they mean, ‘I don’t call myself a feminist, but I want equal pay, and I want to have equal relationships with men, and of course I want to have an equal right to sexual pleasure. I want to have a fair and good life. I don’t want to be held back because I’m a woman.’’” There were parts of The Female Persuasion that were powerful and impactful. I did connect in moments to the characters involved. The writing itself was often very lovely and even poetic in clever ways. For me though there was a disconnect somewhere with myself and the story. It was one of those books I wanted to love but just couldn’t quite get there. And even after giving it some thought I can’t fully understand why. The closest I can come is that at times the character’s tangents bored me a bit, and their thought processes all seemed to be a bit too similar, so there was never a huge distinction in the tones when switching between characters which I think contributed a bit to the disconnect for me. I give this book 3.5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
was not really my type of book. was hard to get into and continue reading.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
I love it when a book makes you feel things. Greer Kadetsky is young and smart and vibrant but she’s resentful because of a mistake her parents made with her financial aid forms. Instead of Yale, she ends up at another university where her boyfriend is not. This separation isolates her and makes it difficult to fit in. One night, she meets a guy who takes advantage of her, and it occurs to her that men like him exist for the sole purpose of treating women like objects, taking what they believe to be rightfully theirs. In protest, she attends a feminist rally while wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with this loser’s face. Faith Frank is in attendance and Greer is in awe. Faith is older, more refined and brilliant. Her passion while speaking stretches to the back of the room and Greer is changed forever. Completely smitten by Faith, Greer is ecstatic when she is offered an entry-level position with Faith’s magazine. The Female Persuasion is mostly about Greer and her evolution as a woman fighting for women’s rights but there are some other characters who occupy space in this novel. For one, Greer’s boyfriend, who suffers a devastating loss that changes him in ways that Greer never imagined. Faith’s fight for funding and her endless pursuit of elevating women’s rights is tarnished by one, not-so-slight oversight. Greer’s closest friend Zee, is betrayed by Greer which is so ironic given the circumstances and what Greer does for a living. This is a large, impressive read. I found myself re-reading passages because some of them beg to be re-read, digested and pondered. When I turned to that last page, I felt deeply satisfied with the story’s ending but also somewhat uneasy about the state of the world we live in. A little sick, really. I think men will shy away from a book like this but there’s something in it for them too if they give it a chance. Get a copy and read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ladyleigh More than 1 year ago
It wasn't predictable but was interesting and engaging. The voices of the characters and the author felt familiar and true. I enjoyed the exploration of the dilemma of how you journey from an inexperienced, intelligent college student who gets all your answers from books to being a smart, confident and successful adult. Other interesting themes were how your family influences and determines your choices and how you respond to a dilemma that puts you in a bad light. The issue at the end between Faith and Greer and Shrader highlighted this one and how you take action or not in the face of bad circumstances. I will say I lost some respect for all three of them in the way they handled it. Took me awhile to get through this because of taking two classes. Read it for the B&N Book Club that happens 5/2/18. After attending the B&N Book Club, I wanted to add some additional thoughts. There was never really the promised exploration of old-school feminism vs new wave feminism that was hinted at in synopsis. The characters were a bit two-dimensional and seemed designed to fit a checklist. Some of the plot points were a little contrived and didn't really suit the purpose they were designed to achieve. Also Zee was a much more interesting character than Greer and deserved more coverage.
debrak521 More than 1 year ago
Barnes and Noble picked this as their first book club book. I hope they got a crap load of money from the publisher for doing this. Her writing style is fine. But I found the characters mostly uninteresting. The only character that slightly peaked my interest is the main character's boyfriend. I feel like this was written probably with good intentions to inspire women. But it felt to me like it was just a cobbled together story quickly finished in time to try to catch the wave of female empowerment currently surging across the country.
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Very timely book dealing with feminism, sexual assault, taking care of family, dreams crushed, eyes opened. I enjoyed the book. Cory and Zee were the most developed characters. Greer could have been more developed. Faith could have explained things better instead of leaving the rift at the end. There were many story lines but Cory and Zee grow up the most and become adults during the book. The others had some ways to go before becoming fully adult. All lost something on their journeys and what they lost was important. Those losses caused some to grow up while others went into downward spirals before their growing up began. Worth the read.
357800 More than 1 year ago
Hmmmm.......had to digest this inaugural Barnes Noble bookclub pick for a bit; had my ups and downs with it to be honest. While THE FEMALE PERSUASION alternates between the lives of four characters, the main focus is on a young adult, Greer about to graduate high school, her relationship with her boyfriend, lesbian best friend, unusual parents and a woman who turns out to be her mentor. For me, the best and most significant story belongs to he handled shocking loss and took charge of a difficult situation for someone so young and in the prime of his life. (Oh Slowy) In contrast, for me, Greer, ok....notably "uncomfortable in the world", searching for direction and purpose in life, showed ambition as well as selfishness in the form of betrayal as she continued along the cure misogyny path. Unfortunately, for me, I became bored with her job, her connection to women's activist Faith Frank and the whole women's rights movement....not that it's not important....its just old news that was (whew!) drawn out way beyond my allotted attention span for this novel. Using books as an antidepressant though....that's a good one Greer! Well developed characters, yes; and "The meaning and uses of power"....I get that, but the overdone subject matter.....that turned THE FEMALE PERSUASION into a long, average ho-hum read for me. Perhaps I'm missing some important message here?