Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Review & Giveaway: Autobiography of Us: A Novel by Aria Beth Sloss
Coming of age in the patrician neighborhood of Pasadena, California, during the 1960s, Rebecca Madden and her beautiful, reckless friend Alex dream of lives beyond their mothers' narrow expectations. Their struggle to define themselves against the backdrop of an American cultural revolution unites them early on, until one sweltering evening the summer before their last year of college, when a single act of betrayal changes everything.
Autobiography of Us is an achingly beautiful portrait of a decades-long bond. A rare and powerful glimpse into the lives of two women caught between repression and revolution, it casts new light on the sacrifices, struggles, victories, and defeats of a generation.
When I first started this book, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. Even now that I've finished it, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I do know that it made me think about friendships, the 60s, and feminism - all of which are interesting topics in and of themselves. Plus, being a feminist I found a lot of the situations that occurred in the book to be rather shocking and quite revelatory of a time period that I clearly knew nothing about. I'm referring to women attending college for their MRS degree; men being referred to as 'filthy' instead of 'rapist'; women being sent away for nine months when they got knocked up; cooking and dance classes being a part of a women's curriculum in high school - seriously!?! Then again, it wasn't all that surprising to me - I had heard of MRS degrees - its something we would joke about it college. And who hasn't heard of home ec, but some of the other things, lets just say that I was OMGing quite a bit.
This book was quiet, tense, and very well written. It startled me at times, with its honest portrayal of relationships - loveless marriages, dysfunctional friendships, dishonest parents; and it also taught me a lot about the limits placed on women, both in and out of the home. I found it horrible that professors refused to refer women to medical school and instead urged them to attend nursing school; I couldn't believe that feminists (who were fighting for equality) would judge other women so harshly (the women who got married and had children) - what happened to sisterhood? And, I honestly couldn't believe that Rebecca and Alex were friends - the way they spoke to one another and the secrets they kept, along with the ways in which they betrayed one another were just horrible. It made me sad to think that Rebecca valued this one friendship so much, when it appeared as if Alex could care less about their relationship. I kept thinking about 'toxic relationships' and how this friendship epitomized that phrase so accurately. Overall, I found this story to be rather mesmerizing and found the end to be rather surprising.
Autobiography of Us is a worthwhile read that I do believe should be experienced by fans of women's fiction. Its an unputdownable read that will not disappoint. Check it out!
giveaway: (US residents only)
Luckily for one reader, I have a copy of Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss to give away!! Actually, its more of a double win - you win two copies, one for you and one for your best friend. Pretty cool, eh? All you have to do is leave me a comment - don't forget to include your email so that I contact you in case you win. Last day to enter is February 15th. Good luck!!