A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert

A Short History of Women tells the stories of five generations of women who share just a couple of first names, to the great confusion of the hapless reader (me). Note to self: do not name your daughter after your mother or worse, after yourself!

In any case some of the stories are quite captivating, and in particular the story of the first woman in the book, who starves herself to death in an effort to get the right to vote for women (in nineteenth century England), leaving her  children orphaned. Others seem plain silly, like the one of the contemporary mother who gets drunk on a play date with her young daughter (no worries, her drinking companion is the mother of the daughter’s friend; the children stay quite sober). It’s hard to care about the travails of that rich, stay-home, with nanny, neurotic New Yorker mom…


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