Summary and book reviews of Big Girls Don't Cry by Fay Weldon

Big Girls Don't Cry

By Fay Weldon

Big Girls Don't Cry
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  • Hardcover: Sep 1998,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 1999,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

One balmy evening in 1971, an unlikely group of women meet in a cramped living room in the suburbs of London. There's Layla, a sexy, irreverent bombshell; Alice, a serious academic; Zoe, a new mother who's frightened of her feminist-hating husband; Stephanie, a pretty, soft-spoken wife of a womanizing antiques dealer; and Nancy, newly single after leaving her no-sex- before-marriage fiancé at their London youth hostel. All twenty-something, all fed up with their lives and their men, they decide to form Medusa, a feminist publishing house.

Big Girl's Don't Cry is a comedy in the classic Weldon tradition. Against the backdrop of failing families, husband swapping, and suburban tedium, Big Girl's Don't Cry chronicles five women's attempts and failures to create a new life. In her most refreshing novel ever, Fay Weldon has written a farcical story about women who -new politics aside- can't quite see past the allure of power and bad men.

The world envied them, derided them, adored, loathed and pitied them by turns - these women who were larger than life. Layla, Stephanie, Alice, Nancy and company - a small, vivid group of wild livers, free-thinkers, lusters after life, sex and experience, who in the last decades of the century turned the world inside out and upside down. Unable to change themselves, they turned their attention to society, and set about changing that, for good or bad.

If in achieving so much they all but destroyed themselves, who should be surprised? Being flawed, they were the stuff of tragedy as well as triumph. They walked amongst ordinary mortals like goddesses down from Mount Olympus, without so much as deigning to notice their own difference. 'Who, me?' they'd enquire, handed doctorate or writ. 'Little me?'

Others described them as feminists, but they were never quite in step; too far in front to notice what the rest were doing. Layla, Stephanie, Alice, Nancy and ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
The Daily Telegraph (UK)

With a mind like a gimlet ... Fay Weldon is the only writer around these days to remind us of the way Bernard Shaw treated serious ideas. Big Girls Don't Cry is a tremendously entertaining comedy driven by a furious detachment.

The Daily Telegraph (UK)

With a mind like a gimlet ... Fay Weldon is the only writer around these days to remind us of the way Bernard Shaw treated serious ideas. Big Girls Don't Cry is a tremendously entertaining comedy driven by a furious detachment.

Kirkus Reviews

[A] wry and witty examination of where feminism went wrong and, occasionally right.... Weldon's clever comparisons of yesterday's mores to today's spice up this bubbling feminist brew, offering a study of the costs and consequences of the idealistic life that is sharp, funny, and all too true.

Kirkus Reviews

[A] wry and witty examination of where feminism went wrong and, occasionally right.... Weldon's clever comparisons of yesterday's mores to today's spice up this bubbling feminist brew, offering a study of the costs and consequences of the idealistic life that is sharp, funny, and all too true.

Los Angeles Times.

No one writes about humanity's foibles quite like Fay Weldon. A hundred years hence, if people can still read, Weldon's books will likely have the unblunted edge of Jane Austin, unsentimental Baedecker guides to sexual manners in an ill-mannered age.

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