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author essay: An Open Book

Notes from an Incomplete Revolution: an excerpt

  Astounding as it may seem to Baby Boomers, the words "women's lib" first rang through the land over twenty-five years ago. Meredith Maran's irreverent and recklessly honest memoir, Notes from an Incomplete Revolution, reminds us just how far we have come--and how far we still have to go. Maran's special gift is for spotting the gap between our fondly held beliefs and our all-too-human actions, between what our heads are telling us and where our hearts--and our feet--are headed. "I'd marched for reproductive rights," she tells us, "but I still mourned the baby I aborted when I was twenty. I'd been in a lesbian relationship for eleven years, but when my car broke down I still longed for a husband. I'd picketed beauty pageants, but I'd been secretly dieting for fifteen years."

Like many feminists, Maran also had "big plans for men." If the current crop proved resistant, she would help raise the perfect companions for the dynamic, fearless baby women of the next generation. Now Maran has two adored teenage sons to eat her fresh-baked muffins and notice (as kids have a habit of doing) just where her rhetoric falls short of reality.

Every writer has a question they dread being asked. In this issue of Bold Type, Meredith Maran writes about her Dread Question, and an excerpt from her new book displays the memoirist in dazzlingly fine form.

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Photo of Meredith Maran © copyright Cori Wells Braun
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