Isabel Allende: “There is Nothing Like the Strength of Women Together”

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As we mark this year’s International Women’s Day, Isabel Allende’s THE SOUL OF A WOMAN, published by Ballantine Books, is our new Igloo Book Buzz selection. Allende says of her book: “I hope it will be a piece of conversation among young women who might feel isolated or alone or who might not have thought about the struggle they need to confront. Women who have education, healthcare and resources are a minority in the world. The great majority are suffering. The responsibility of those who have more is to give more.”

“When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating,” Allende wrote. 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.

Why did she write THE SOUL OF A WOMAN at this point in time? Allende shares, “Because of everything that’s happening in our world, socially and politically, with the #MeToo movement, the fight for LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter. It made me think about my own trajectory as a feminist. It could have been written earlier — most of it — but not the part about aging. To talk about aging you really have to live it, without demonizing it or idealizing it.”

Jennifer Hershey, SVP, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, Ballantine Books, says, “I am the luckiest editor in the world to have had the chance to work with Isabel on this book. She is so wise, which comes from having been a feminist for decades and having seen the movement in all its ebbs and flows, triumphs and setbacks. As she says: we are in it for the long haul, and we have to do it joyfully… there is nothing like the strength of women together. And that describes the editorial process with her as well—joyful and collaborative, every step of the way.”

Posted: March 8, 2021