Big Girls Don't Cry - Fay Weldon

This is a story of the beginning of the Women’s movement in London, told by a narrator with hindsight and a wry sense of humor. “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”, is their call to action. Five women gather to discuss how they can get ahead in a man’s world, and they leave after deciding to form a publishing company. The novel follows the women for the next several decades, and shows just how difficult it can be to cling to an ideal when life interferes in unexpected ways. The cast of characters is painted with a wide brush, but the story is lively and you never really have time to dislike any particular person for very long. I especially liked the narrator’s wise voice, admitting that some events she is recounting are of course silly in hindsight, but we must humor the people involved and just tell the story. Before the women of today Lean In, they might want to check out the kinds of women who made an idea like that possible.