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Book Review: The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende

The Soul of a Woman // by Isabel Allende

Pub Day: March 02, 2021

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books

Length: 174 pages

About the book:

“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.”

“If for any reason you don’t like the word feminist, look for another word. The name is not important as long as the work gets done for yourself and for your sisters in the rest of the world who need it.”

Isabel Allendew

My Thoughts:

I have been looking forward to reading this for a long time. I have a different title signed by her at home but really liked the look of this one and wanted it to be the first one I read. I really enjoyed the storytelling in the style of a memoir and being able to learn so much about the history, change, and progress she has encountered in her life. I really can’t wait to read her other books after this. What an introduction to this author! I do wish it would’ve been a little longer and also think that some of her opinions about women and what they want are a bit generalized and perhaps even a little outdated to an extent, but seeing where she came from and what she’s experienced, I can’t say I’m very surprised. What an awesome example she has set for other people to build on!

Thanks to the library, I was able to listen to this title. It was narrated by Gisela Chipe, who did a great job.

About the Author:

Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the “magic realism” tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at several US colleges. She currently resides in California with her husband.

About the Publisher:

Ballantine Books was established in 1952 by the legendary paperback pioneers Ian and Betty Ballantine. Today, Ballantine is one of America’s largest publishers of hardcover, trade paperback and mass market paperback books — spanning a remarkably wide variety of subjects. For more information, visit

Gotta get some cuddles in with my big baby before the little baby gets here!

Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

“Feminism, like the ocean, is fluid, powerful, deep, and encompasses the infinite complexity of life; it moves in waves, currents, tides, and sometimes in storms. Like the ocean, feminism never stays quiet.”

Isabel Allende

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