RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewComprehensive, compelling ... A Woman’s Life is a Human Life offers insights into how we can form genuine alliances in order to continue making changes that align with the feminist values of compassion, fairness and care: by consolidating ranks, listening to one another in order to understand our differences while simultaneously identifying our commonalities. Changes come from people power, not self-portraits; systems of self-sovereignty achieved by many.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... engaging, relevant and sweeping ... Books of true feminist history are rare. Rarer still are these histories intersectional; feminist history tends to be synonymous with white women’s history. Not this book. Griffith delivers a multiracial, inclusive timeline of the struggles and triumphs of both Black and white women in America ... A profoundly illuminating tour de force ... In this immense survey, Griffith is inclined to examine every motivation of her subjects as she unearths long-buried intersectional archives. Most notable is her articulation of the malignant dysfunction as women struggle to find a unified, inclusive path to equality. She is not content to leave out the many moments of white women falling back to self-interested silos ... Griffith excels in examining each feminist cause and its accompanying downsides ... Griffith does not skim over the spots when the suffrage movement splintered. Rather, she understands the assignment: All are invited but no one is off the hook ... There is power in Griffith’s writing — not the style, which is factual and straightforward, but in the cumulative efforts of the hundreds, if not thousands, of characters that she acknowledges. At times, the book’s sheer scope is overwhelming, like listening to Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire — a fire hose of information, names and actions, protests and pantsuits ... The result is a memorial of female freedom fighters, long overdue, and the emergence of a set of instructions for the next generation ... the reader is carried not by the storyteller but by the tale and takeaway: Success comes not from short manic bursts of effort, but from a constant carrying of the torch. As America descends deeper into paralysis and polarization, Griffith’s subtle and accessible examination shows that victories arise through the miracle of cooperation. Not by factional division but through unity and perseverance. Feminist history is written every day, and Griffith leaves us with the reminder that there is much work to do, as always ... a shock and a lesson, a reminder that if we want to persevere we must be ready to begin again and again, again and again.
J. Courtney Sullivan
RaveThe Portland Press HeraldThese flawed and lifelike qualities are what makes this book interesting, to say the least, difficult to put down, and impossible not to identify with. And this is what makes Sullivan’s writing so good ... [Sullivan] places her observations so seamlessly in her character’s minds, that we forget we are reading, but rather we ourselves become the characters we are reading about ... Ultimately, this way of telling a story makes it not only accessible and incredibly readable, but it also gives the reader a fuller sense of how little we can know about someone and how, in the end, the only thing that traps us is ourselves.