Though I have a Master’s in American History, I rarely read biographies. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve spent so much of my academic career reading history books and researching topics….but when I sit down to read I like reading fiction….preferably with history.
Now that said, I do on occasion read biographies or nonfiction if the subject sounds interesting etc. I was so sad that I couldn’t fit this book into my review schedule this summer because it sounds like one of those books that would be right up my alley! So instead I decided to do a special feature complete with a Q & A from the author so be sure to keep reading!
The startling coming-of-age story of famed anthropologist Margaret Mead whose radical ideas challenged the social and sexual norms of her time.
The story begins in 1923, when twenty-two year old Margaret Mead is living in New York City, engaged to her childhood sweetheart and on the verge of graduating from college. Seemingly a conventional young lady, she marries, but shocks friends when she decides to keep her maiden name.
After starting graduate school at Columbia University, she does the unthinkable: she first enters into a forbidden relationship with a female colleague, then gets caught up in an all-consuming and secret affair with a brilliant older man. As her sexual awakening continues, she discovers it is possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time.
While Margaret’s personal explorations are just beginning, her interest in distant cultures propels her into the new field of anthropology. Ignoring the constraints put on women, she travels alone to a tiny speck of land in the South Pacific called Samoa to study the sexual behavior of adolescent girls. Returning home on an ocean liner nine months later, a chance encounter changes the course of her life forever.
Now, drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs, Deborah Beatriz Blum reconstructs these five transformative years of Margaret’s life, before she became famous, revealing the story that Margaret Mead hid from the world – during her lifetime and beyond (summary from Goodreads).
The book was researched through letters with Mead’s professional connections, lovers, diaries and memoirs to explore the college and early years of Mead in the 1920s. It is intensely personal to documentary filmmaker and acclaimed author Deborah Blum because of her chance meeting with Mead when she was a young woman.