TITLE: THE GROUP
AUTHOR: MARY McCARTHY
This is not a new book, it was first published in 1963 at which time it would probably have raised quite a few eyebrows and created some controversy. This edition comes with an introduction by Candace Bushnell which is not surprising since The Group could easily be described as Sex and the City for an earlier generation.
McCarthy's most celebrated novel portrays the experiences of eight young women from Vassar College, Class of '33. As the story opens, they meet in New York City for the wedding of Kay, one of the group. The author then describes the lives, loves, and aspirations of these women until they reconvene seven years later in the same city for Kay's funeral.
In the intervening years we encounter the women dealing with issues that at first glance seem to belong firmly in the setting of the 1930's. It's only when the reader stops to think about it that she realizes that things haven't really changed all that much. Women still struggle with the choice between family and career, are still filled with doubts when it comes to raising their babies and children. A lot of women still feel they need a man in their lives to make it complete and will go to ridiculous lengths to get and keep their men. Our insecurities are still the same as are our dreams and illusions.
This was a fascinating and very honest story. None of these women are "perfect" or saintly. They all have their weak points, their evil sides as well as positive characteristics.
This book was interesting both as a portrait of a time gone past and as a timeless picture of friendship between women.