This book was less of a strongly-plotted novel about women and feminism, and more a character study of women over the decades. I didn't necessarily dislike this difference, but I found it a bit slow and lacking in a plot or direction. Ultimately, I wasn't able to finish this book.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, today it is Women Within by Anne Leigh Parrish. Thanks so much to Book Sparks for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own.

As I mentioned, this book follows a bunch of women from the turn of the century onward. From an elderly patient to a young health care aide and everything in between, the women of the story are all related and connected to one another. They examine their own lives, from adopting a child without a husband, making strides in a male-dominated career, fighting against the oppression of being a mother, and proving themselves capable of living without a man to help them. Each of the three main characters interacts with additional women who add their own stories and insight to their problems.

I found the writing of this book to be fairly well done. It wasn't anything too lyrical, but it flowed nicely enough where I could read it fluidly. Each of the three characters perspectives is told in the third person, so it didn't really matter too much if they sounded similar, because you saw their name every few lines. The narrative wasn't so personal as it was telling the story on a larger scale, so third-person POV worked in this case.

I'm not quite sure I agree with Parrish's portrayals of feminism. I was really excited to read a book like this because it heralds itself as a champion of feminism but I think there were a few flaws in that. I know there are different waves of feminism (thank you, English class!) and I suppose this book looks at some of them over a more modern viewpoint of feminism. The characters seemed to think that just because you were doing something that wasn't socially accepted as a woman, that was feminism. There's manipulation, meanness to other women, and unbelievably, one point where one character threatens to claim sexual assault to get her way. Not only is this deeply problematic and something we are still working hard to fight against today, but has no place in a book that calls itself a feminist text.

In the end, I was unable to finish this book. I think it was a combination of the story itself and the way the issues were presented. I made it to page 112, so maybe things get better after that? I'm not sure.

Overall, while I wanted to enjoy this book, I was not able to finish it because of the issues I had with it.