Pollitt on TPMCafe's Book Club This Week

The TPMCafe crowd reads Learning to Drive, and Pollitt begins the conversation. From her welcome post:

Here is how I see Learning to Drive. Under the pressure of events, I was brought face to face with many ways in which the personal and the political were opposing forces in my life. The values that I held, and the way I lived, didn't really fit together. Most of the essays explore that split in one way or another: the feminist who doesn't know how to drive and hasn't a clue what's going on in her relationship. The rationalist who finds herself googling her ex on the internet; the believer in female solidarity who is horrified when she takes a good look at some of the qualities she actually has in common with other women. But this split is not just in me. My father ("Good-Bye, Lenin"), was a Stalinist communist--and also a lawyer who revered the Bill of Rights. My mother ("Mrs. Razzmatazz"), was a working wife who was trapped in 1950s ideals of femininity. The Marxist study group I belonged to ("In the Study Group") understood society but not itself. And the split is in society too: new motherhood ("Beautiful Screamer"), which was for me such a joyful and intense experience, ought to put you at the hot center of life, but instead it plunks you in mommy purdah with a head full of guilt. Our official ideology is optimism and progress ("End Of") but who really believes it any more?

I didn't write the book to be controversial, but that seems to be its fate. I suppose that shows there's some bite still left in the old slogan that the personal is political. Read on.