The Many Lives of Women

The Many Lives of Women

Sorry for the delay folks! Been a crazy series of months for everyone, and I hope you are staying safe, and healthy!

Convenience Store Woman

Charming and beautiful! Author Sayaka Murata tackles society’s expectations of women: career, marriage, and old age in this short novel. What defines “normal” from one person to the next? How does one determine “normal” for themselves? Perhaps happiness is doing something less “glamorous” than society idolizes. Translated from Japanese. Have some snacks on hand for this one!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pavilion of Women

Hats off to our local library app Hoopla for suggesting this read. I’m glad I read this one without knowing the actual publication date (which turns out to be in the 1940’s.) Madame Wu, makes a subversive decision and elects to abandon her “wife” duties and be replaced by a concubine. Moving out of her husband’s residence, she starts a “second life” by reading books meant for men. She navigates the marital lives of her children all while befriending a foreign priest who teaches her the ultimate price of self freedom. This isn’t a page-turning read, yet fascinating in a historical sense. Before the modern-day feminist movement, women’s choices were primarily focused on wife and home-maker. Was love possible in these relationships? Or was it a sense of duty: to one’s family, nation and lineage?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Whisper Network

A mysterious spreadsheet of names is being circulated amongst the women of Texas. Each name, a male colleague, is accused of inappropriate behavior. When a suicide occurs, the spreadsheet and those associated with it, become scrutinized. The #metoo movement, and male chauvinism clash in this page turner. Was it murder? Or a suicide? Jealousy? Told from the memories of the ladies in the office, lies, sex, rape, power and revenge are the central focus points. Highly recommended, and a must read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Guru

Rupaul shines with no-nonsense, down-to-earth insights, most of which you already know. Consider this an introductory manual for those seeking to find themselves. It’s a quick bridge to deeper topics, and an uplifter for anyone having a tough time. So don’t fear a month-long investment with this book. We finished it in one sitting. Three-stars, for this being but a “taste” or a “nibble” of what RuPaul has to offer.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Maestra

Rarely does a book come along, that discourages me from the simple act of reading. To be diligent, and fair, I refused to abandon this novel, and fought my way begrudgingly through it. Perhaps this one, is a matter of personal failed expectations. The cover describes the main character as a woman who has transformed herself to “play the game.” Arguably she has, however as much as I wished for this to be a new, fresh “Gone Girl” type experience, what I found was a rewashed, recycled serial killer fantasy, with sexual fetishes (not that that’s at all bad, these were quite juicy...) respun from a female perspective. As for character development, the author does very little to explain the killer’s motives, except for an attempt at leaving us with a closing explanation of the crimes, but not what motivates the killer herself.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Photo by Maryia Plashchynskaya from Pexels



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