Sex wars by Marge Piercy

About the book

Life is hard in post-Civil War New York, but change is in the air. Immigrants are pouring into the city, bringing a new spirit in their wake. Among them is Freydeh, who lives in a tiny tenement flat with eight others and works at as many jobs as she can handle in hopes of raising enough money to bring her family over from Russia.

Reviewed by New Forest/Waterside U3A theatre and literature

Marge Piercy offers us a wide and exotic canvas on which she paints a devastating picture of the “brave New World” of the United States. A long way from “Little Women” or the New England reformers of Henry James’ novels, Sex Wars gets into the tenements and whore-houses of New York and makes us feel the dirt and degradation. It leads to a view of their struggle for women’s suffrage little known or appreciated on this side of the Atlantic. We are reminded too that the extremes of religion and politics have not changed much in the past hundred years. This is a thought-provoking book for anyone prepared to be provoked.

Star rating: ****

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2 thoughts on “Sex wars by Marge Piercy”

  1. Review by Wallington Village
    Few finished the book. Switching character and time frames was confusing. Not strong characters – who was who? Awful places to live and cold!
    Star rating: ***


  2. Review by Monday, Monday Book Club
    This book, as expected by those familiar with Marge Piercy, produced an excellent discussion on politics, religion and how women are regarded both in history and currently. Several members did interesting research on this, and on the real-life characters in the book, prior to the meeting which added to the depth of the discussion.
    The major fictional character, Freydeh, is a great representation of a hard working, strong willed, persistent and inventive immigrant woman, struggling with her own losses and responsible for herself and her family but also with a great sense of social charity.
    It is well worth reading a book like this to remind ourselves that these conditions, portrayed here 150 years ago, still exist in many places and in many forms and to ask ourselves how much do we value now what others have fought for?
    Star rating: ****


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