discussions in which the women perenniallynanalyze men and their lives withnmen. They are angry and hostile. Frenchnwrites of their common attitudes:n”By this time, all of us had a word. It wasnTHEM, and we all meant the same thingnby it: men. Each of us felt done in by onenof them, but that wasn’t it. Because eachnof us had friends, and our friends werenalso being done in by them. And each ofnour friends had friends . . .”nThe women at Harvard are fromndiverse backgrounds and age groups. Yetnthey begin to love each other and arenvery supportive. They all agree on theninequities of men. They have had badnexperiences with marriage. Several ofnthe women become lovers and enter intonlesbian “marriages;” these relationships,npredictably, are peaceful and nurturing.nMira, however, is self-destructivelynattracted to the enemy, meets Ben andnthey fall in love. He is sensitive and kind.nnot a MCP, and they are happy. But he isnan African specialist and plans on returningnthere; Mira refuses to give up hernstudies to join him. They part, and henmarries his secretary, an accomplishednhomemaker, has two children and movesnto the suburbs. Mira fights with hernvisiting sons, now teenagers: they onlynwant to eat hamburgers and drink cokes,nand reject the quiche and wine she offers.nOne of the women in the group is raped;nthe police and courts further abuse andnhumiliate her. Another woman is shotndead by police while picketing with othernmilitant feminists. The happy little worldnconstructed by women only crumbles.nMira finishes her dissertation and endsnup teaching English in a small communityncollege. She drinks brandy and feelsnthat she’s going mad. She has bad dreams;nshe feels dead. She spends hours walkingnon the beach watching the tide. Shenis alone.nwn^n”This is, indeed, as all the advance publicity has claimed, a novel of great power andnintelligence … it speaks from the heart to women everywhere . . .”n— Publishers Weeklyn”Pretend you’re from Mars, you haven’t heard a word, and you want to know somethingnabout the lives of certain women in midcentury America. ‘The Women’s Room’ is angood place to begin … Some shattering dramas occur in this book, but they’re nearlynalways believable; we’re willing to accept them as part of normal life . . .”n—Anne Tyler, The New York Times Book Reviewn”It will change your life if you’re a woman… It is as if Marilyn French is holding up anmirror to her readers . . . An experience not to be missed.”n—San Francisco Chroniclen”The story of one woman, and of all women … a wonderful novel, full of lifenand passions.”n— Washington Postn”A courageous, powerful, honest novel—one you’d like to give to 20 women {and,nperhaps anonymously, to 20 men) you know.”n— Chicago Tribunen”The best novel yet about the lives of women.”n—Betty Friedann&nOthers’ Tasten”It pulses with life and individuality … a book that women are going to read to relieventhe stories of their lives.”n—New York Timesn”A haunting novel, perhaps even a milestone.”n—New York Magazinen”A landmark book! . . . The women’s novel of the year, perhaps of many years.”n—John Barkham Reviewsn^’Magnificent” ^^n—Philadelphia Inquirer ^^mn16 inChronicles of CulturennnAt is not easy to summarize this novelnin order to convey its all-encompassingnbanality and the perniciousness ofnits premise: men bad, women good; rnennvictimizer, women victim; men enemy,nwomen friend. Although French makesnevery attempt to compartmentalize lifenin ideological drawers and folders, realitynis unyielding and resists this kind ofnmolding. The result is a curious futilitynof efforts: French’s skills as a writer,nwhich are obvious, betray her intentionsnand render more color and dimension tonher characters and situation than couldnserve her thesis. French sees the relationshipnbetween the sexes as constant warfare:n”It’s as though deep, deep at the heart, thensilent heart that rarely erupts, that keepsnstill because if it didn’t the world wouldnbe destroyed . . . the sexes hate and fearneach other. Women see men as oppressors,nas tyrants, as an enemy with superior slavesnwho rattle their chains threateningly,nconstantly reminding the men that if theynwanted to, they could poison his food;njust watch out.”nThis, of course, is pure bunk, and thenincessant reiteration of all this hatrednand injustice is reminiscent of the BignLie. If repeated often enough, powerfullynenough, eventually it will become annacceptable version of reality. But we knownthat this vision is as commensurate withnlife as Goebbels’ or Zhdanov’s propagandanof hatred. Orwell’s “Four legs good,ntwo legs bad,” in Animal Farm, is ourncivilization’s exegesis of that state of mind.n”Sometimes I think that’s all men are.nTin gods. They have to be or they arennothing,” is the way Mira propounds hernconcept of half of mankind. Nevertheless,nmen have the power, so a wise womannhas to know how to engage in powernpolitics: “Men are only vehicles forngetting things. ‘If I know how to usenthem, good for me!’ Her body was taut,nher fists clenched . . . She looked noblenand powerful and beaten all at once.”nThe most trenchant arguments againstnthe book are in French’s own words:n”What is a man, anyway.’ Everything Insee around me in popular culture tells men