The Wrong Kind of Woman; Sarah McCraw Crow
Mira - 2020
From the cover, the title and the very first chapter and intro paragraph below, there was so much about this book that appealed to me: the title - just what was the wrong kind of woman? the setting - small academic college in New Hampshire, timeframe - early 1970s and, this sad intro - starts with a death......
Westfield, New Hampshire
Oliver died the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the air heavy with snow that hadn't fallen yet. His last words to Virginia were, "Tacks, Ginny? Do we have any tacks?"
Yes, Virginia Desmarais, has just lost her husband Oliver unexpectedly, while he was out hanging Christmas lights. Now at 39, she is left to raise the couple's 14 year old daughter Rebecca.
Both Oliver and Virginia taught at Clarendon College, a private men's school. She, however, did not have her PhD, making her feel somewhat inferior. It was the 1970's, a changing time in this country, especially for women. A single mother teaching at a private college certainly was not the norm. Her struggle to fit in set against societies expectations at that time felt compelling. Virginia does have four single women known as the Gang of Four on her side, this was the same group of women who Oliver had criticized privately before his death. It is these same women who serve as Virginia's anchors when she needs support the most.
I loved the flashbacks to the 1960s and 1970s and all that "in" and pressing during those years. I do feel bad that I just didn't love this book more. Unfortunately, this book made for some painfully slow reading. The story seemed directionless at times, some of the flashbacks just seemed out of place and didn't fit and, alternating narrators also felt confusing at times. Overall, this one just did not work well for me.
Rating - 3/5 stars