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Big Girls Don't Cry [Paperback]

Fay Weldon
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 14.53 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 2 1999 Weldon, Fay
On a balmy evening in 1971, five women meet in a cramped living room in the suburbs of London. Tired of their husbands and their unsatisfying lives, they form the aptly named Medusa, a book publishing house founded on the principle of "getting even."

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Now, from the writer who made grisly comic fodder of an ugly woman's revenge in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil comes the first novel to take the long, and caustic, view of the feminist orthodoxies of the last 30 years and the women who embraced, disseminated, and were sometimes disappointed by them. Deftly managing the biggest cast she's yet conjured, Fay Weldon recounts the 1971 founding of distaff Medusa Press by a goofily believable gaggle of British feminists--Stephanie, the beautiful one; Alice, the philosopher; Layla, the ambitious; Nancy the organized, who becomes Medusa's office manager; blonde Daffy, of the breeder urges; Zoe, the wife and mother who writes a feminist classic and commits suicide, the novel's sole victim of patriarchal oppression. Everyone else, male and female alike, is more the casualty of ideas at odds with desires and the inexorable ironies of trickster time. A lot of the comedy is deadpan, funny because it's true--who but Weldon would risk admitting that the venerable feminist saying A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle is a head-scratchingly opaque bit of sloganeering?

One of the great strengths, and charms, of Big Girls Don't Cry is that the heroines of the 1970s become the middle-aged mothers of the late 1990s; in most feminist fiction babies are burdens or betrayals, but not real people: here as in life, they are ascendant, products of their upbringing, characters to be reckoned with. Weldon's twentysomethings are as lovingly and astringently drawn as her fiftysomethings, and have as much to contribute to the clever plot. If you ever want to found a mother-daughter book club, consider making this your first selection. --Joyce Thompson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Weldon's lightly satirical 22nd novel (after Worst Fears) takes a characteristically tart look back at the early days of feminism as experienced by four Londoners. In 1971 Layla, Zoe and Alice gather in Stephie's living room to engage in consciousness-raising while, in an upstairs bedroom, Stephie's husband, Hamish, deprograms a convert. The women discover this sexual betrayal just as Zoe's abusive husband, Bull, arrives to save her soul from women's lib. Provoked by these outrages, the remaining three decide to establish Medusa, a publishing house devoted to women's works. Soon they're joined by Nancy, who dumps her boring boyfriend to manage the office (and lives) of her newfound sisters. Meanwhile, Layla's anti-male resolve crumbles and she sleeps with Hamish; Stephie, having launched the radical feminist magazine Menstra, gets bored and seduces the handyman; and Nancy, assured of Medusa's success, reunites with her boyfriend. Alice alone remains celibate, dedicated to I Ching, pyramids and rose crystals, a New Age recluse. Zoe becomes the sisterhood's sacrificial lamb, committing suicide after Bull burns the manuscript she's been creating in secret. Weldon leaves it up to the younger generation?particularly Zoe's daughter, Saffron, to set things right. Weldon aficionados will recognize the predatory males, stock figures in the writer's repertoire, and the savvily sketched predicaments facing her feisty feminist heroines. Weldon wryly applauds the effort it takes to remain faithful to the cause. As the revisionist Layla points out, men are people, too.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Weldon: Mother Goose with an acid tongue. Jan. 26 1999
Format:Hardcover
You would think that after having written so many novels, and all about the same subject -- love and it's many complexities -- that Weldon would slip into formula writing. And I am still waiting for this to happen. A Weldon fan for more than 10 years, I have yet to be disappointed. How many times can one person write about lovers who cheat on each other (I haven't read a single Weldon novel that didn't involve multiple shades of adultery) and still keep it fresh? Obviously many. I've always considered Weldon more of a "womanist" than a feminist, and she uses this opportunity to trash the feminist movement of the 70s. Her satire is deliciously biting as she examines everyone's disparate perspectives. You don't know whom to sympathize with on what page because you can be sure that whomever you respected at the opening of the novel you will surely despise somewhere along the way, and vice versa. I eagerly await each new Weldon novel knowing that I am in for a wild ride. I had the opportunity to hear her read many years ago from her (then) new novel Darcy's Utopia and have never read her novels the same way since. She's like a cross between Mother Goose and Lizzie Borden. I would highly recommend this novel (or any other Weldon novel) to anyone who enjoys to laugh out loud, both at the characters and at him/herself. And there is just no way to be offended because she offends everyone at some point. On a down side I will say that her ending was a bit predictable, which is surprising for an author who usually can turn the formulaics of life into something spontaneous and exciting to witness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Big girls can do whatever. . . Nov. 27 1999
By mmm
Format:Hardcover
She's done it again. In her succinct, dry way, Fay Weldon has succeeded in capturing the hopes, dreams, crushing defeats, and stunning recoveries that mark, bruise, and reshape the women of today. Her "Big Girls" are really a small group, every member flawed of course. She shows them tripping falling, fighting, succeeding. The problem is simple. These women decided it was easier to change the world than to change themselves. Of course, they do change, and the world is all the better for them having done so. Weldon's characters give us all a short, succinct course in feminist history, as they rise from humble beginnings (naked dancing in a living room for all to see) to forces to be reckoned with in publishing circles. They change the world. They change themselves. They change the reader. Weldon's wit is superb. She can say more in a few simple sentences than many writers can in several paragraphs (myself included).
Was this review helpful to you?
1.0 out of 5 stars Godawful wretched piece of tripe March 13 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Fay Weldon's been funny before; let us hope she will again, 'cause she sure struck out this time. This thing is so utterly meanspirited that it had me wanting to kick men and smack women. Had I not been trapped on a cross-country flight with nothing else to read, I wouldn't have endured it. As it was, I wished I was able to open the window; I would have chucked it.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Weldon: Mother Goose with an acid tongue. Jan. 26 1999
By Archimago - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You would think that after having written so many novels, and all about the same subject -- love and it's many complexities -- that Weldon would slip into formula writing. And I am still waiting for this to happen. A Weldon fan for more than 10 years, I have yet to be disappointed. How many times can one person write about lovers who cheat on each other (I haven't read a single Weldon novel that didn't involve multiple shades of adultery) and still keep it fresh? Obviously many. I've always considered Weldon more of a "womanist" than a feminist, and she uses this opportunity to trash the feminist movement of the 70s. Her satire is deliciously biting as she examines everyone's disparate perspectives. You don't know whom to sympathize with on what page because you can be sure that whomever you respected at the opening of the novel you will surely despise somewhere along the way, and vice versa. I eagerly await each new Weldon novel knowing that I am in for a wild ride. I had the opportunity to hear her read many years ago from her (then) new novel Darcy's Utopia and have never read her novels the same way since. She's like a cross between Mother Goose and Lizzie Borden. I would highly recommend this novel (or any other Weldon novel) to anyone who enjoys to laugh out loud, both at the characters and at him/herself. And there is just no way to be offended because she offends everyone at some point. On a down side I will say that her ending was a bit predictable, which is surprising for an author who usually can turn the formulaics of life into something spontaneous and exciting to witness.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big girls can do whatever. . . Nov. 27 1999
By mmm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
She's done it again. In her succinct, dry way, Fay Weldon has succeeded in capturing the hopes, dreams, crushing defeats, and stunning recoveries that mark, bruise, and reshape the women of today. Her "Big Girls" are really a small group, every member flawed of course. She shows them tripping falling, fighting, succeeding. The problem is simple. These women decided it was easier to change the world than to change themselves. Of course, they do change, and the world is all the better for them having done so. Weldon's characters give us all a short, succinct course in feminist history, as they rise from humble beginnings (naked dancing in a living room for all to see) to forces to be reckoned with in publishing circles. They change the world. They change themselves. They change the reader. Weldon's wit is superb. She can say more in a few simple sentences than many writers can in several paragraphs (myself included).
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Godawful wretched piece of tripe March 13 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Fay Weldon's been funny before; let us hope she will again, 'cause she sure struck out this time. This thing is so utterly meanspirited that it had me wanting to kick men and smack women. Had I not been trapped on a cross-country flight with nothing else to read, I wouldn't have endured it. As it was, I wished I was able to open the window; I would have chucked it.
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