Synopses & Reviews
From Caitlin Flanagan, one of the New Yorker's
most entertaining and acerbic wits a controversial reassesment of the rituals and events that shape womens lives: weddings, sex, housekeeping, and motherhood.
Caitlin Flanagan, the hilarious and hotly disputed social critic, compares the rituals and experiences that shaped the fifties housewife with those that have forged the modern woman, and arrives at some surprising conclusions. In her signature prose bitingly funny and brutally honest Flanagan examines everything from the contemporary white wedding craze to the epidemic of undersexed marriages. Whether she is reporting on the mommy wars, the anti-clutter movement, or America's new nanny culture, her book reveals both the high cost women pay for devoting themselves to the people they love, and also the matchless rewards that come from such a sacrifice.
Caitlin Flanagan began her magazine-writing career at the Atlantic Monthly in 2001 with a series of essays on modern family life that became an immediate sensation and the subject of an ongoing and heated national discussion. Now a staff writer for the New Yorker, her essays are passed from friend to friend, challenged and championed in the media, and often made the subject of book group discussions.
With its insightful observations and trenchant conclusions, To Hell with All That will generate controversy and serious media attention while it also delights and enlightens readers across the country.
"Flanagan's take on why modern mothers are conflicted about their roles is so witty and well researched she quotes sources ranging from Queen Elizabeth's childhood nanny to Total Woman Marabel Morgan that it's easy to overlook that she offers no evidence to back up her chief notion "that women have a deeply felt emotional connection to housekeeping." Coming from someone who admits she doesn't change her sheets or clean her house (the maid does it), it's hard to take this assertion seriously. But then, while Flanagan is a staff writer for the New Yorker and a regular essayist for the Atlantic, she's more a polemicist here than journalist. The problem is her self-contradictions. Flanagan is fed up with what she sees as self-indulgent upper-middle-class mommies (like herself and unlike her mother's generation) who have elevated motherhood at the expense of housekeeping, which she sees as a lost art. Yet she goes into great and fascinating detail about her relationship with the nanny she hired after giving birth to twins. Flanagan is particularly disdainful of feminists who 'imposed' a narrative of oppression on women. The author claims she's not a cook, but in her debut book she proves herself to be one heck of a pot-stirrer." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Flanagan writes with intelligence, wit and brio. She's likable. Flanagan is neither the feminist
turncoat nor nouveau Phyllis Schlafly that her detractors presume her to be." Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review
From "The New Yorker's" most entertaining and acerbic wit comes a controversial reassessment of the rituals and events that shape women's lives: weddings, sex, housekeeping, and motherhood.
Having so many choices, Caitlin Flanagan maintains, has torn women away from what many of them want most: to raise a family and run a household. It's a nearly heretical statement today, and, like so many of the fresh ideas put forth in Flanagan's hilarious, entertaining, and provocative book, it might make some readers angry but it will also make them think.
About the Author
Caitlin Flanagan is a four-time finalist for the National Magazine Award. Her essays have appeared in Best American Essays 2003, and Best American Magazine Writing 2002, 2003, and 2004. She has made numerous national media appearances. She has been the subject of profiles and critiques in the New York Observer, Ms., the New Republic, and various other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.