Allende, a fixture of Latin American storytelling since the publication of The House of the Spirits in 1982, is well qualified to deliver a feminist manifesto. Those who have followed her career are familiar with the number of times she has struggled defiantly to overcome roadblocks in her path ... In The Soul of a Woman , Allende describes these experiences and others that imbued her with the grit and tenacity that define her today ... Allende discusses her past matter-of-factly and directly, without losing her piquante humor. She details her career from its roots in feminist journalism through the literary pursuits that made her a success in spite of adversity and personal tragedy. Ultimately Allende tells us of a life lived fully, for better or worse. The passionate choices she has made are boldly laid out without apologies in this slim volume. Allende even reflects on the twilight of her life, though it seems unbelievable that such a vibrant spirit could ever dim. But when it does, the blaze her life leaves behind will illuminate this world for decades to come.
From the vantage of her 70-plus years, Allende uses the lens of feminism to reflect on her life. Feminist was a role she was destined to fulfill, in spite of the misogyny rampant in her native Chile ... Independence of spirit fueled Allende’s ambition, the desire to witness as strong as that to write. Allende’s transformative approach to feminism is visceral and, not surprisingly, lyrical ... In a narrative that is part memoir and part manifesto, Allende both rails against and embraces aging, making peace with the adjustments she’s made and celebrating life’s joys and accomplishments as measured against a life well lived. A crisp and buoyant unburdening, Allende’s philosophical treatise on women’s issues is unabashedly passionate and personal, as befits one of the world’s most beloved authors and journalists.
... a bold exploration of womanhood, feminism, parenting, aging, love and more ... This short, but mighty memoir opens with a proud declaration that Allende has been a feminist since kindergarten, and from there launches readers into an enchanting examination of the life she has lived ever since ... a chronicle of her fierce advocacy for herself and for the power of women, and it is also an ode to the many people who shaped her. With humor and wisdom, Allende offers poignant observations on topics like ambition, the lack of respect we show to aging people and the #MeToo movement ... Spending time with Allende within these pages is a true delight. The book is conversational, contemplative, and relatable. Allende is self-deprecating and jubilant, writing as if she is chatting over coffee and scones with an old friend about the lessons life has taught her. The book will no doubt make you think about these big concepts in new and personal ways.
... a bold exploration of womanhood, feminism, parenting, aging, love and more ... short but mighty ... With humor and wisdom, Allende offers poignant observations on topics such as ambition, the lack of respect we show to aging people and the #MeToo movement ... Spending time with Allende within these pages is a true delight. The book is conversational, contemplative and relatable. Allende is self-deprecating and jubilant, writing as if she is chatting over coffee and scones with an old friend. The book will no doubt make you think about these big concepts in new and personal ways.
[Allende] has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters...These are eye-watering achievements, and they belong to a woman more capable, more exceptional, than the series of trivialities, unsubstantiated claims and half-baked ideas making up The Soul of a Woman would suggest ... My strongest impression upon reading it has been one of distaste, not for Allende but for her publishers, who, she says herself within the text, 'don’t try to influence my work'. Presumably they know that no matter what she produces, it will sell more than enough to justify the printing and distribution. Yet it seems lacking the requisite respect with which an artist like Allende ought to be treated to allow such a book to see the light of day ... One feels, reading it, that someone should have been looking out for her, editing her, and ensuring that rushed, weak contributions to her oeuvre like this are not released into the public domain ... So shocked was I to read this almost absurdly poor offering by such a renowned literary figure that I immediately went back and read her first, perhaps most acclaimed novel, The House of the Spirits, as well as an earlier nonfiction offering, My Invented Country. Both remain captivating: gorgeously, even lusciously written, they provide clear proof of the deservedness of her reputation. They made me want to read more of her, but also made The Soul of a Woman appear all the more incomprehensibly weak in comparison ... There are, as is inevitable with a writer of Allende’s abilities, fleeting moments of brilliance and a born storyteller’s flair for detail...Beyond that, it is difficult to find much positive to say.
In just 170 pages Isabel Allende manages to write a humorous memoir, an homage to her family, all of whom seem to have walked off the pages of her delicious novels, and a feminist plea for women’s rights and agency around the globe. The prolific author also reveals her joie de vivre, her resilience, determination, intelligence, and priorities now that she is in her seventh decade. She also shares her foibles and idiosyncrasies honestly and without self-defense ... No matter what ideas or memories Allende shares in this gem of reflection, feminism dominates the messages of this book. Readers who have not been exposed to or engaged with the stunning lives of women around the world will be surprised and shocked to read what she reveals; those who are aware of the situations and conditions so many women endure, survive, and advocate against will welcome her calls to action ... Allende also addresses sexuality, passion, and relationships honestly and humorously as we age ... opens our eyes, encourages us to live meaningful, independent, contented lives, and makes us wish we could be friends with this fine writer and feminist icon.
... a first-hand history of second-wave feminism; it’s a manifesto regarding the rights and value of women; it’s a harangue on the politics of aging, and it’s a memoir of romantic and sensual love. Although brief, the tome covers a lifetime of observations from one of the great masters of literature ... Allende crams much into the thin book — the density of its thoughts are clearly inversely proportional to its length. My copy is un-loanable because of a considerable amount scribbled in the margins, underlined and highlighted ... While maintaining sharp wit in her prose, her thoughts in The Soul of a Woman often find themselves contradicting one another...Allende is doing what the best essayists do: She’s working out an idea on the page, showcasing for the reader a remarkable mind at work — a mind unafraid of change and unafraid of being honest. To call this book unflinching is both true and an understatement ... a charming read. And while, yes, it’s many things in a small package, it’s also a call to arms for the next generation.
Though her discussion of current issues occasionally missteps, such as her efforts to define gender neutrality, Allende’s fervor for the importance of equality and opportunity for women makes for an overall energizing read ... Those looking for in-depth stories of Allende’s earlier life will need to turn to her earlier works, but this passionate memoir presents a vibrant portrait of the current-day author and her thoughts on the future of women, and will be highly appreciated by fans of her works.
The popular Chilean novelist shares life's lessons. Approaching 80, Allende offers wise thoughts on aging, romance, sex, love, and, above all, her feminism—which began in kindergarten, when she saw her mother, abandoned with three small children, forced to become dependent on men ... A pithy, upbeat memoir by a self-described romantic feminist.
a rich and intimate account of her lifelong commitment to feminism ... The book’s biographical details include Allende’s youthful fight for equality in sports; her early years as a journalist in Chile in the 1960s and ’70s; profiles of her beloved mother and chauvinist stepfather; and a tribute to legendary literary agent Carmen Balcells ... This spirited call for women to continue fighting for 'a joyful world' will resonate with Allende’s many fans.