Fiction · Literature · Theresa F

The Group | by Mary McCarthy

The Group by Mary McCarthy
(Mariner Books, 1991, 492 pages)

Written in the sixties, The Group is about a group of girls graduating from Vassar in 1933.  Graduating in the midst of the depression the girls set out to carve out a place for themselves in a very changed country.  Most settle in New York and become part of the intellectual set.  Some marry and some don’t but the detail about their daily lives is extraordinary and even though this is a novel, it is almost like reading a history book detailing the cultural atmosphere of women’s lives in the 30’s.  McCarthy gives us a glimpse into attitudes about birth control, breast feeding, women in the work force, the popularity of socialism and communism, and even a look at how food preparation was changing (in the 30’s iceberg lettuce is cutting edge and canned food is gaining acceptance).

I enjoyed this book, not just for the historical/cultural information but for the stories of the women finding their place in the world.

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