Stephanie Staal sets out to reread the great feminist classics 10 years after college to get a grip on a life seemingly spinning out of control with demands of marriage and motherhood. There were a lot of things about this book that appealed to me: feminist classics, women's colleges, retrospective examination of the college experience from a standpoint of a life-crisis. And in many ways this book was quite good. I got more excited about authors I knew I ought to read but hadn't yet, and I found out about a few women that I'm putting on my to-read list. It would serve as a decent introduction to feminist texts for women who have little knowledge of them and who have an interest in being married and having children. Unfortunately, the book fights between being a survey of feminist classics and being a memoir of Staal's marital problems. Interesting discussions of books such as The Dialectic of Sex and A Room of One's Own are interrupted by lengthy, and sometimes only tenuously related, passages about Staal's difficulties with her husband and her child. The point is presumably to illustrate the continued relevancy of the work-family balance in women's lives (certainly an important topic), but the personal passages don't seem to come together as a political problem faced by many modern women, instead of the the problems of one isolated family. Perhaps the book has more resonance for women in situations similar to Staal's, but it fails to become relevant for feminists of diverse identities. Similarly, the book also does not reflect the feminisms of diverse women. Out of 26 books Staal chose to read, only one is written by a woman of color, and she does not address womanism or the massive contributions of feminists of color at all. Staal is multiracial herself, and part of the lack of diversity in her reading list can be put down to the canon's focus on white women, however there are many more women of color (and queer women) on the reading lists for the class she took than there are in her book. Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Cherrie Moraga, Gloria Anzaldua, Alice Walker, Angela Davis are all passed over, even in the third chapter which details the divisions among 70's feminists. Staal discusses the feminist sex wars in this chapter, but nothing about pushback from second-wave women-of-color against the overwhelming focus on the needs of white women. Sadly this is not the only instance of Staal's limited focus. Unfortunately, Staal doesn't seem to have a framework for intersectional feminism and seems to have trouble understanding the needs of women who don't share her privileges. Lesbian feminism is described as indulgent, abstract and impractical. "Too many women had beloved men in their lives, whether fathers, husbands, or sons, and portraying them as disposable would only ward these women from feminism's ranks" (241). Staal assumes that there is only one feminism and that it's purpose is to draw as many women to its cause as possible. But lesbian feminism does not exist for the needs of heterosexual women. Just as some women sometimes need a feminism that includes and embraces men, some women at some times need a feminism that is centered around queer/women-only spaces. These feminisms can coexist. Just because one woman wants men in her feminism, doesn't mean that another woman can't have have radical lesbianism as her feminism. Or that one woman can't subscribe to both philosophies. These things are fluid, and ought to be, to mirror our needs at different times in our lives. What Staal fails to recognize, again and again, is the multiplicity of feminism, that feminism has become about more than "women's issues" -- that it has become about social justice -- that it is now feminisms, and that these feminisms concern themselves with the oppression of many different groups and many different kinds of oppression. Describing a class discussion about Judith Butler's ideas about gender identity, Staal says "while contemplating [queer theory and the idea of gender as a spectrum] had the appeal of a brainteaser, I was similarly exasperated. So what? I thought" (246). So what? Only that the oppression of queer, transgendered, and intersex folks is inextricably linked to the oppression of women. Only that many queer, trans and intersex folks are feminists and/or women. Only that their needs should be just as central to feminisms as the needs of straight upper-class white cis women. I found myself wincing through the latter part of this book as it became increasingly clear that Staal had very little grasp of not only queer theory, but also of what things are unacceptable to say about queer folks. A student's comment that trans women are "men paying... two hundred dollars to dress up as a women, and then we teach them how to act like stereotypical women" is left uninterrogated or analyzed as if it were a completely unproblematic statement. Perhaps I'm idealizing women's studies classrooms, but I have a hard time imagining that comment not being addressed as offensive and transphobic. That Staal doesn't even address it is problematic and indicates that her "keen[ness] to bolt the classroom and leave behind postmodernism" comes not only from discomfort with jargon and dense theory, but also from discomfort with the mixing queerness in with feminism. I've been increasingly harsh in my status updates while reading this book, and for good reason. Staal seems to have little patience with feminist topics that are outside her comfort zone. The entirety of the sex-positive movement is written off as "trading on lewdness," while queer theory and lesbian feminism are alternatively portrayed as being indulgent, impractical, too theoretical, and generally beyond the pale. However, for all that, Staal seems aware of the limitations of her survey and her criticism. "As someone who, at the root of things, identifies herself as a feminist, I turned to these books as a way of grasping the difficulties that I was facing at a specific time and place in my life, when as a woman, I felt drawn and quartered by love and guilt, confusion and frustration. The slant of my circumstances therefore determined the titles I selected to write about," she says. "My thoughts and opinions are just that, and I'll wager that many a professor or doctoral student would gleefully tear my interpretations apart -- and probably rightfully so." I enjoyed most of Staal's interpretations and don't intend to tear the others apart for the sake of academic pique. In fact I considered giving this book as a gift to my younger cousin because I very much enjoyed the earlier parts about Virginia Woolf et al; however, for me, the constrained focus of the book on topics primarily of interest to privileged women outweighed my enjoyment of her survey of earlier feminists.