“Miss Rheingold began to be regarded by some as a quaint, semi-insulting, or even dangerous…
stereotype—one that endorsed the male chauvinist value of beauty over brains, objectification of ‘the fairer sex’ over a woman’s true worth.”
– Wally Lamb, I’ll Take You There
Hey Savvy Readers,
I will be honest. When I picked up this book, I did not know what to expect as I had never read a Wally Lamb novel before. This turned out to be one of the best books I have read in awhile. If you enjoy learning about how life was “back in the day” (1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s) and if you are an advocate for women’s rights, or believe in equality for all, you will find pleasure in reading I’ll Take You There. This book has taken on a whole new relevence to our time after the election…
I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb follows an older man named Felix who is a film studies professor, and a loving father. One day when Felix is in the projection room, two ghosts appear and seem to be actresses from the very early era of silent movies. At first, we are unsure of why they appear, and when they tell him he must relive his childhood through special ghost movie technology because he is “educable,” the story becomes even more unclear. Later, we find out that Felix was chosen because he has had many experiences with women, and he is very open-minded about feminism.
I became quite invested in the stories of the women that Felix was related to and the women that he met. It was very intriguing to hear stories of how women had to deal with sexual harassment and other disgusting behaviour, and just had to accept it as normal at the time. I had always pictured 20s–60s movie stars as glamorous ladies who had it all made.
In reality, women’s rights were not adequate for the appropriate freedom and mobility that the actresses and other women deserved. I thought that the addition of the ghosts was well thought out. It gave voices to the dead women of earlier eras who didn’t have a voice when they were alive.
My favourite part of I’ll Take You There was learning about the Miss Rheingold competition. Realizing that the competition was a real life event was intriguing, and thought-provoking. I’m a part of the generation that “tends to dismiss beauty contests as silly and inconsequential but not particularly dangerous…”.
But after reading the book I, like Aliza, believe that,”…now I’m not so sure.”
Wally Lamb perfectly captures the stuggles of women from all generations and how new age feminists are now fighting back virtually, taking to Twitter and flashmobs, rather than bra burning and anti-leg shaving campaigns. We use different tools to accomplish the same goal: equality for all!
We all need to lift each other up!!!
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