Disclaimer: I read this book in 2008. My book group chose it and I happily reread it. I looked at the review I wrote when I originally read it, and honestly, I don’t need to change it. So here it is:
Gilman’s writing style is amazing. Several times I had to put the book down because I was laughing so hard. She has a great take of growing up as a full on feminist, but at the same time becoming giddy with delight when Mick Jagger points out that she’s got huge boobs. This is a woman who’s been everywhere and done everything, and it’s a brilliant read. The book starts off with her at four years old, the daughter of hippies, prancing around in a tutu and figuring out how to rule the world. Her first foray into stardom comes in the form of an independent film that has her skipping around naked with another 4 year old, trying to catch a butterfly. We end with Susan getting married and having a total meltdown in the middle of a David’s Bridal when she finds a wedding dress that looks amazing on her. The plan was to be married in red or black satin, but she stands on the pedestal in the middle of the store for *four hours*, trying to come to terms with the fact that she loves this pouffy white dress, even though it represents everything she hates. In between she writes for a Jewish newspaper, which leads to her accompanying a group of Jewish teens on a trip through the concentration camps in Poland. She’s accidentally labeled “that lesbian Jewish writer” and suddenly receives call after call from unhappy Jewish moms who just want their gay daughters to meet someone nice, and is she doing anything this Saturday? Her parents get divorced and suddenly develop personalities, she jets off to work for a congresswoman in D.C., and later moves to Geneva.
Her life seems improbable, but the way she writes it makes it sound just like everyone else’s upbringing, just with different type of parental interactions, series of crappy jobs, and dreaded apartment hunting.