Just giving a feminist critique of the books I read. Pretty simple!
My views don't represent all feminists, as we're all different. There are liberal feminists, eco-feminists, radical feminists . . . and so on. I consider myself an anarcha-feminist, which means that I'll also include critiques of capitalism and neoliberalism in my analysis.
Additionally, I don't think feminism is just about gender -- it's about race, class, sexuality, etc.
I'm also not here to engage with anti-feminists, sorry!
Review from June 2010:
[My opinions aren't quite clear to me when it comes to this book. Usually I can definitively say where I stand with a text, but American Pastoral challenges that notion. The first third of the book, I felt, was uninteresting. Perhaps because I wasn't aware of the narrator and his life (as this was the first novel I'd read by Roth), who knows. But I didn't feel drawn to read by the story as it was playing out. I'm not one for reminiscing on times lost, at least on a grand level like that. Memories interest me when they are tragic- not when they consist of growing up in "innocent" America. This doesn't mean that the text was inherently bad; it might speak of my generation's inability to relate to the experiences of our parents. Either way, only when the plot progressed and the focus left the narrator and his stories did I become more interested. The character of Seymour (I rather dislike saying "The Swede", pardon me) was one my sympathies fall on, which I'm sure was the author's intention. Innocent, hard-working and reliable, Seymour embodied the American ideal of the "Every-man", which was pushed upon him by his immigrant parents. Watching his life get better and better, while knowing that it was soon fall apart was difficult: it was hard not to root for him. As he agonized over what moment has caused his daughter's downfall, one gets the sense of just how grand was Merry's act. Though my sympathy dwindled toward the end with twists that were revealed, I still, after completing the book, felt for Seymour. How can I not? Society has trained me to love the "Good-boy" Archetype, which is very much what Seymour is--just an embodiment of all the hopes and expectations of the time. With the wars and seemingly disappearing innocence, that type was needed more than ever. It satisfied a need that I'm not sure still exists today.
"Yes, alone we are, deeply alone, and always, in store for us, a layer of loneliness even deeper. There is nothing can do to dispose of that. No, loneliness shouldn't surprise us, as astonishing to experience it might be. You can try turning yourself inside out, but all you are then is inside out and lonely instead of inside in and lonely."
"There is no protest to be lodged against loneliness-- not all the bombing campaigns in history have made a dent in it."]