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The Soul of a Woman: Book summary and reviews of The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende

The Soul of a Woman

by Isabel Allende

The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende X
The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende
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  • Published Mar 2021
    192 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Petal of the Sea comes a passionate and inspiring meditation on what it means to be a woman.

"When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating," begins Isabel Allende. As a child, she watched her mother, abandoned by her husband, provide for her three small children without "resources or voice." Isabel became a fierce and defiant little girl, determined to fight for the life her mother couldn't have.

As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, she rode the second wave of feminism. Among a tribe of like-minded female journalists, Allende for the first time felt comfortable in her own skin, as they wrote "with a knife between our teeth" about women's issues. She has seen what the movement has accomplished in the course of her lifetime. And over the course of three passionate marriages, she has learned how to grow as a woman while having a partner, when to step away, and the rewards of embracing one's sexuality.

So what feeds the soul of feminists—and all women—today? To be safe, to be valued, to live in peace, to have their own resources, to be connected, to have control over our bodies and lives, and above all, to be loved. On all these fronts, there is much work yet to be done, and this book, Allende hopes, will "light the torches of our daughters and granddaughters with mine. They will have to live for us, as we lived for our mothers, and carry on with the work still left to be finished."

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] rich and intimate account of [the author's] lifelong commitment to feminism...This spirited call for women to continue fighting for 'a joyful world' will resonate with Allende's many fans." - Publishers Weekly

"A pithy, upbeat memoir by a self-described romantic feminist." - Kirkus Reviews

"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." - Library Journal

This information about The Soul of a Woman was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Cathryn Conroy

A Hybrid of a Book: Part Memoir, Part Feminist Manifesto, Part Meditation, Part Romantic Advice
This book is a hybrid: part memoir, part feminist manifesto, part meditation, and part romantic advice. It's a bit of everything!

Written by the brilliant novelist Isabel Allende, this short nonfiction book primarily examines the role of women in society, as well as offering powerful, but concise, life lessons. And for the most part, it's excellent. That said, there are times, especially in the last third of the book, that the text rambles and is a bit disjointed.

Allende's take on feminism is slightly different than so many others I have read. She is by her own definition a romantic feminist. Married three times, including the last time in her 70s, she is a woman who believes in romantic love and how it enriches her life. The life lessons in the book are wide-ranging, including her candid thoughts not only romance, but also sex, aging, motherhood, the patriarchy, family, and the power of female friendship.

And this may make curious men want to read this book: Isabel Allende reveals what women want the most. And it's exactly right!

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Author Information

Isabel Allende Author Biography

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of a number of bestselling and critically acclaimed books, including The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, Paula, and In the Midst of Winter. Her books have been translated into more than forty-two languages and have sold more than seventy-four million copies worldwide. She lives in California.

Author Interview
Link to Isabel Allende's Website

Name Pronunciation
Isabel Allende: Ees-abel Ay-enday (or ä-YEN-d?)

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