SUSAN, LINDA, NINA, & COKIE   2 comments

Recently I posted this review on amazon and Goodreads.

SUSAN, LINDA, NINA, & COKIE: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR, by Lisa Napoli

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this [audible] book read by the author. Her voice was perfect for conveying the atmosphere, maybe even the period, in which these women grew and worked. Perhaps if I’d been reading a paperback I might have been offended by some of the specific language usages critiqued by a previous reviewer, but for me it was as if a friend had carried me with her to provide a personal flourish to the stories of these four women. Their family backgrounds were generally of a higher caste than mine, but oh how I did resonate to their college experiences! In a way it surprised me given that they were over a decade behind me in age. As with my experience at Connecticut College for Women (only in the 60s did they admit Conn. men) academic progress and creative focus were intense and satisfying, With the overarching expectation that the talent would be used in supporting productive husbands and raising successful children! I think it was Cokie’s story that especially grabbed my attention with her discovery that “supportive wife” was a position that depressingly used only a few of her abilities.

Their struggles with gender bias were all too familiar to me, not only from personal experience, but also as a former professor of the Psychology of Women. To tell the truth, I was a bit dismayed that women so much younger than I had faced such battles in their career progressions. I resonated as well to Cokie Roberts “mixed” marriage, and I appreciated the importance of the wise and strong men in their lives who were willing to grow in their own marital roles. What I really enjoyed, though, was the down-to-earthiness of the stories as Lisa tells them.

To be honest the purpose in writing the book was not clear to me, and it’s not the kind of story that keeps me up late at night wanting to know what’s next, but I do know I anticipated with pleasure each listening session I could find time for. I guess it’s not a great literary work – but then, it doesn’t pretend to be. So, it’s a five-star book simply because that’s how much I enjoyed it.

And, by the way, I hadn’t appreciated the extent to which women had facilitated the progress of public radio. Maybe gender bias helped to make it possible. After all, who, at that time, might have had their defenses up anticipating that women could propel such competitive influence.

2 responses to “SUSAN, LINDA, NINA, & COKIE

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  1. Mona, I too read this book and did enjoy it. It could be because I love public radio and can remember these women. Thanks for your wonderful reviews. I am now readingthe mighty queens of freeville”

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