Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids and Life in a Half-Changed World
I loved it just as much as Schoolgirls. It’s brilliant, fascinating, touching, wonderfully composed.
— Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions
AT THIRTY-FOUR, Peggy Orenstein faced a series of dilemmas shared by many women of her generation: She was unsure whether she wanted children, unsure about the impact of motherhood on her career, her relationship, and her sense of self. Why, when women seemed to have so many choices, did she suddenly feel that she had none? After feminist liberation and its subsequent backlash, she realized that women’s lives, including her own, were now in a state of flux.
In her second book, Orenstein looks at what it means to be a woman at the beginning of a new century. After talking to over two hundred women between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five, she has blended their voices into a compelling narrative that allows the reader to ‘eavesdrop’ — to get deep inside the lives and choices of other women — and share their thoughts on ambition and power, the experience of sex and love, the meaning of motherhood, what it means to remain single and childless, and how these things influence the way we assemble the pieces of our lives.
In Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids and Life in a Half-Changed World, Orenstein explores the half-changed aspect of today’s world and the ways women still struggle to live full lives and to reach a true balance of the personal and professional. With richly textured narrative portraits and extraordinary depth of reporting, this book offers an opportunity to take part in a conversation with women across generations and lines of experience, an exchange that rarely happens these days.
For all women who are looking for insight into their lives and the forces that inform them, Flux has the power to inspire discussion and, through illuminating the key conflicts of real women, show how life might be changed. Only Peggy Orenstein, with her narrative gift and unique reportorial skills, could produce such a cutting-edge book, a true blueprint for how women comport themselves as the century turns, a bible for stressed-out women trying to make important decisions.
Reviews & Praise
“Flux captures in vivid detail the ways the uneven quality of gender roles translates into the ambivalence that women harbor over the direction of their lives. These stories mirror the logic behind that ambivalence: new choices in a world still playing by old rules.”
—Phyllis Moen, Washington Post Book World
“I have never heard my voice or read my life or seen my face in their words. In ‘Flux,’ I did. And suddenly I made sense to me.”
— Susan Reimer, Baltimore Sun
“For me, the book was like reading my own diary projected through the prism of dozens of other women.”
— Joan Ryan, The San Francisco Chronicle
“… Orenstein’s Flux manages to offer smart insights. Not surprisingly, Orenstein, 38, a veteran journalist who interviewed some 200 women for her book, comes up with no easy solutions. But at least she is asking new, provocative questions: What are young women’s fears—and fantasies—about work and family today? Could their ideas be at least partly responsible for their inability to advance in the workplace?”
— Pamela Kruger, Fast Company
“The strength of ‘Flux’ is the questions it bravely poses: How are young women responding to society’s pressures to marry and have children? How do they feel about remaining single indefinitely, or not having kids? Can women balance career and motherhood and stay romantically connected to their husbands? How do women who are unmarried or childless create meaningful identities apart from traditional roles? ‘Flux’ is a fascinating look at ‘how daunting the obstacles still are for women in assembling the pieces of a satisfied life.’ ”
— Terri Casey, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“… A fascinating exploration of the limits women still face at the beginning of the 21st century.”
— Marina Craig, Sunday Mail (Australia)