The Group is one of those unforgettable books that everyone needs to read, especially us women. Some might love it, some will hate it, but I doubt people can ignore this staggeringly realistic, if depressing look at a group of women and thereby, the society that they inhabit.
Set in the Great Depression and following the lives of a ‘group’ of eight Vassar graduates who plunge into the ‘real’ world, Mary McCarthy explores with admirable ease the issues that affect them; be it heart-break, love, marriage, sexuality, motherhood or a career.
My favourite thing about this book is the fact that at no point does McCarthy’s take on subjects confronting women, seem forced. It’s not like she has a check-list of things or problems to talk about, because she’s writing about women. Her look at their lives blends these important issues seamlessly and her writing is so vividly descriptive.
Descriptive, not in physical or material details, but more of a detailed emotional dissection which is so enjoyably written with subtle wit and sarcasm, that it’s so easy to read! This book is inherently feminist, no doubt, and must have been a revelation when it was first published.
Most of the men featured in the book are hopeless: sample an abusive, unfaithful husband or a cruel lover or a husband who uses his wife and child as the ‘guinea pig’ for his experiments as a pediatrician. Them and their condescending attitude towards women disgusted me incredibly.
Similarly, most of the women in the group are not very likable. They all have their flaws: some more flawed than the other. Also, this book isn’t as much about friendship as one might suppose it to be, considering it is about a group of women. It’s more about how differently and distinctly each woman deals with the problems that confront her. The Group has a lot to say, with enough in it for women at different stages of their life.
I also think it's important for me to point out that this book is uncomfortable to read at times; awkward, depressing and cold too. But the sincerity and the inherent honesty with which McCarthy goes about this tale, is enough to definitely warrant a read.
P.S. My internet connection has been horrible so I haven't found time to comment or check any of your blogs. I'll do it first thing when my internet gets back to normal :)