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I had a surprisingly reflective reaction to this touching novel about a professor's widow, her teenage daughter, and the young male college student whose life intersects with the professor, and later with them. I was a teenager around the time that this story set in the early 70s unfolds, and my Mother, although older than mom Virginia ("from Virginia"), was very much struggling to find her place with the new feminism, and how to pivot from a stay at home wife/mother to a student and a job outside the home. The music mentioned in the book is the music I grew up on. The war is the one I heard daily about as my Mother worked with various anti-war groups in our small Ohio town, and even hosted a couple journalists from Japan needing lodging while they reported on Kent State. There is also a "Brett Kavanaugh" incident. Along with the disparagement of professional women (in "The Wrong Kind of Women," the female professors are called the "Gang of Four" by the male faculty) it's a reality that links all of our generations of women together. I'm so glad that I got to read Crow's impressive debut.— From Carla's Picks
"McCraw Crow deftly navigates the campus and national politics of the '70s in a way that remains timely and pressing today. A powerful, thought-provoking debut." --Amy Meyerson, Nationally bestselling author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays
A powerful exploration of what a woman can be when what she should be is no longer an option
In late 1970, Oliver Desmarais drops dead in his front yard while hanging Christmas lights. In the year that follows, his widow, Virginia, struggles to find her place on the campus of the elite New Hampshire men's college where Oliver was a professor. While Virginia had always shared her husband's prejudices against the four outspoken, never-married women on the faculty--dubbed the Gang of Four by their male counterparts--she now finds herself depending on them, even joining their work to bring the women's movement to Clarendon College. Soon, though, reports of violent protests across the country reach this sleepy New England town, stirring tensions between the fraternal establishment of Clarendon and those calling for change. As authorities attempt to tamp down "radical elements," Virginia must decide whether she's willing to put herself and her family at risk for a cause that had never felt like her own. Told through alternating perspectives, The Wrong Kind of Woman is an engrossing story about finding the strength to forge new paths, beautifully woven against the rapid changes of the early '70s.