Monday, July 25, 2011

Women, Stand Up for the Right to Work! Fired When Married!

This book completed with a bang.  Vreeland's Clara and Mr. Tiffany: A Novel finally brought some historical excitement into her tale in the last third of the book where, finally, the historical woman's right to work issue was addressed!

"It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.... Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less"  Susan B. Anthony

Our book meeting revealed that I was not the only person that felt that Vreeland may not have researched the common Victorian behavior in the early 1900's with respect to Clara's character.  We questioned such actions such as:
  • Would it be considered proper in a boarding house to have men come in and sit on your bed? 
  •      Is it OK to keep the company of men without an escort?
  •      Is it OK to retire to bed with a man in your bedroom?
  •      Is it OK to spend the weekend at a beech house with your male and female friends?
    Vreeland painted Clara as a very discrete and proper lady, which seemed to be at odds with some of her behavior in the novel.

    The end of the book concluded with some meaty topics that were presented beautifully.   I wish these topics such as the relationship between unions, business and woman's work rights with supporting historical stories would have been described throughout the book rather than concentrated at the end of the tale.

    The author did an awesome job describing the struggles of the immigrants.  Most everyone enjoyed the historical setting and the sprinkling of American history in the telling of the story.  We had an interesting discussion with respect to the male/female love relationship within the workplace which is as applicable then as it is now, as often married employees find themselves attracted to coworkers.

    Though not the best book of the year, it was an enjoyable book club read, and lead to a pleasant discussion.

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