Letters of Intent: Women Cross the Generations to Talk about Family, Work, Sex, Love, and the Future of Feminism

Anna Bondoc, Author, Meg Daly, Joint Author
Anna Bondoc, Author, Meg Daly, Joint Author Free Press $23 (256p) ISBN 978-0-684-85624-7
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This collection of 21 pairs of letters seeks to bridge what the editors perceive as a feminist generation gap through exchanges about abortion rights, mentoring, mothering, racism in women's rights groups, the role of lesbian activists, health and spirituality. Bondoc, a Filipina-American chef who has written about food and health, and Daly, who has edited an anthology about the politics between lesbians and straight women, solicited letters from young women, which were answered by feminists from the previous generation (or beyond). While some questions and responses are well articulated, the book is disappointing structurally. For example, it's not always clear how topics were selected or why there are two or three sets of letters on one subject and none on others, such as the status of African-American feminism. In a few cases, the letters are stiff, as in Amy Richards and Gloria Steinem's correspondence about their personal experiences with abortion. Among the most literate and unself-conscious exchanges are Marie Lee and Elaine Kim's letters on interracial marriages among Asians. While Eisa Nefertari Ulen's letter to Angela Davis is poetically phrased, her plea for Davis's active leadership rightfully elicits a lecture cautioning Ulen to avoid ""a certain romantic idea of the Sixties"" and to ""make your own revolution."" Overall, the letters convey one generation's hard-fought struggle to attain success and equality and the next generation's relative complacency. Agent, Jennie Dunham. (Mar.)
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