The Women's Room by Marilyn French
The Women's Room is a novel by American feminist author Marilyn French, published in 1977. French first appeared as a major participant in the feminist movement with the publication of The Women's Room; it was French's debut novel. The Women's Room, while French states it is not an autobiographical work, contains much influence from French's own life and there are several autobiographical elements within the novel. For example, French, like the main character, Mira, was married, divorced, and then attended Harvard where she obtained a Ph.D. in English Literature. Despite the connection of The Women's Room to the Feminist Movement, in an interview with the New York Times in 1977, French stated, "The Women's Room" is not about the women's movement... but about women's lives today." The Women's Room has been described as one of the most influential novels of the modern feminist movement. Its instant popularity brought criticism from some well-known feminists that it was too pessimistic about women's lives and too anti-men. The Women's Room is set in 1950s America and follows the fortunes of Mira Ward, a conventional and submissive young woman in a traditional marriage and her gradual feminist awakening. The novel met stark media criticism when published but went on to be an international best seller.