Title: The Group
Author: Mary McCarthy
Publication Year: 1963 (republished in Danish in 2016)
Publisher: Virago Press UK (Danish publisher: Lindhardt & Ringhof)
My Rating: 3/5 stars
This is the story of The Group, a group of ladies who all graduated from Vassar when they were in their early twenties and who are now living in and around New York City, becoming independent women. In this book, we meet The Group as they are attending the wedding of one of the ladies. Gradually, we get to know each and every one of the ladies as they go through their everyday lives in New York City.
I thought that this was going to be a modern chick-lit novel about a group of women who had become friends, and who now once in a while gathered to have some fun. I knew, after all, that the story of Sex & the City has been inspired by this exact novel. However, I quickly realized that I was wrong. First of all, this book was first published in 1963 which makes it a modern classic. Second of all, it doesn't really read like a chick-lit, even though we do have a group of women living in fancy New York City. This story is more complex than that as it deals with each person's worries and problems in their everyday life. Worries that everyone can relate to because they are quite banal, however yet deeply interesting.
I will say that this book is definitely targeted towards a more mature audience, simply because it deals with things like marriage, sex, quarrels and babies. Things that you are more able to relate to when you've been through them yourself. Nevertheless, I'm sure that a younger audience would benefit from it as well, because it gives you an insight into what it's like to grow up and how life doesn't necessarily become easier when you become an independent adult.
The very first chapter contains a lot of name-dropping. We are briefly introduced to every member of this group, and it's hard to keep track of who everyone is and what their background and personalities are like. I was very pleasantly surprised to realize, that the rest of the book narrows down on each characters so that we get a more in-depth knowledge of them in each chapter - that definitely appealed to me and encouraged me to read on and get to know everyone of them very well.
All in all, this is a highly interesting story about the everyday life of women in the 1930s New York. It is not an easy chick-lit read as it deals with heavy, serious, however relatable topics, but in the end it gives you a raw and honest insight into other people and their lives, and it makes you realize that all of us go through basically the same things in life - you're not alone.