The basics: Roz and Paul Mellow, a happily married couple with four children, write a very famous book about sex. It features drawings of them in various positions, including one they create themselves. When their four children find a copy of the book, it impacts each of them a little differently.
My thoughts: I expected The Position to be wise, funny and perhaps awkward. As a new parent, I was fascinated by the perspectives of both parents and children. What I didn't expect was to see the action jump to the present (when written, so 2005) and have perspective to see where the six Mellows are now. This combination of past and present infuses The Position with a much more ambitious premise, and it's a more powerful novel because of it.
The four Mellow children were all different ages when they read their parents book about sex, so its impact on each is different. Indeed, its impact would have been different on each of them regardless, as they are quite different in some ways small and large.
Favorite passage: "Her marriage to Paul was a response to theirs, just the way all marriages are a response to those earlier ones, with corrections made in the flawed texts, only to be corrected again, and yet again, over time."
The verdict: The Position is a wise, observant portrait of a fascinating and complicated family. Wolitzer deftly navigates the two periods and moves between characters with ease. It's a novel far bigger than its premise, and Wolitzer once again proves her ability to both tell an engaging story and offer smart commentary on life and love.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 307 pages
Publication date: March 1, 2005
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Position from Amazon (Kindle edition.)
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