This is one of those novels that has a place in time and history as being both revolutionary in certain ways, while also possibly being in danger of becoming quaint in others. For me, this book has the particular feel of a book saying something very important, but also in a way that’s stamped across the cover. It has the feel of socialist novels from the 30s in that same way: saying something important! So taken at that level, it’s a very successful novel. It also has the problem that political novels like this have, which is a a struggle to transcend the material beyond the urgent need for that storytelling. I think this novel is positioned in a way to become important again, if someone were to take up that cause, because of the pressing needs right now to not only tell more stories about women, but especially women’s activism, and more so because of the specific anti-activist ways in which “the women’s movement” has been targeted in the less few ways. While laying out the history of anti-choice legislation, violence against women, and the intersectionalist ways that women experience inequality would be tremendously important, not only do I think there are a lot of books that handle that extremely well, but I don’t think that would be the greatest benefit in a resurgence of this book or books like this.
Specifically, I am thinking about the ways in which bad actors in public discourse have learned to parrot activist, critical, Feminist, and other discursive talk and use that language in attempts to either raise up oppressive regimes in public discourse or to discredit or undermine Feminist discourse. So it’s not a need for more stories like this, but a public refresher course in what terms and forms of language actually mean. So while this book isn’t always the most effective novel, it’s an effective text in the careful use of a form of discourse that is in danger of being weakened, watered down, or purposely misused.