From the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Petal of the Sea comes a passionate and inspiring meditation on what it means to be a woman.
“When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating,” begins Isabel Allende. As a child, she watched her mother, abandoned by her husband, provide for her three small children without “resources or voice.” Isabel became a fierce and defiant little girl, determined to fight for the life her mother couldn’t have.
As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, she rode the second wave of feminism. Among a tribe of like-minded female journalists, Allende for the first time felt comfortable in her own skin, as they wrote “with a knife between our teeth” about women’s issues. She has seen what the movement has accomplished in the course of her lifetime. And over the course of three passionate marriages, she has learned how to grow as a woman while having a partner, when to step away, and the rewards of embracing one’s sexuality.
So what feeds the soul of feminists—and all women—today? To be safe, to be valued, to live in peace, to have their own resources, to be connected, to have control over our bodies and lives, and above all, to be loved. On all these fronts, there is much work yet to be done, and this book, Allende hopes, will “light the torches of our daughters and granddaughters with mine. They will have to live for us, as we lived for our mothers, and carry on with the work still left to be finished.”
It is a good person who is a world renowned author, but says her best achievement is not her books, but the love she shares with a few people, especially her family, and having always tried to help people. Such are the thoughts of Isabel Allende, a Chilean author who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Hussein Obama. She has written: The House of the Spirits, and City of the Beasts. Her novels are considered to be the genre of magical realism. They are usually based on her own experiences, historical events, and pay homage to the lives of women. She also uses elements of myth and realism.
Allende was born in Lima, Peru. Her father was a cousin to Salvador Allende, the President of Chile from 1970 to 1973. Her father left her mother, so Isabel ended up moving to many places when her mother married a diplomat. In 1962 Isabel married an engineering student, when she moved back to Chile to complete her secondary education. She then led a dual life as obedient wife and mother, but in public was Barbara Cartland, well-known tv personality, a dramatist, and journalist with a feminine magazine.
Allende had jobs with the United Nations in Santiago, then Brussels and elsewhere. In Chile she translated books from English to Spanish, but was fired because she made some changes on her own (which were not appreciated) and was altering some endings from "happily ever after", to allow the heroine some independence to do good in the world.
She now runs the Isabel Allende Foundation, founded in 1996 to honor the author's daughter Paula Frias, who passed away at age 29. They award life-changing grants to women to improve their care.