Looking for a sizzling read to get you through the dog days of summer? The Position by Meg Wolitzer fits the bill.
The book is about a suburban family, the Mellows, in the mid-1970’s. What makes the Mellow family different from the other families in their neighborhood on Swarthmore Circle are the parents: Paul and Roz Mellow are desperately in love, so much so that they pen a book titled Pleasuring: One Couple’s Journey to Fulfillment. The book becomes a worldwide smash hit, published complete with graphic illustrations– illustrations that Paul and Roz Mellow have willingly posed for.
Enter eldest son, Michael, who finds the book not-so-carefully- hidden on a shelf in the den. Stunned, the prepubescent Michael shares the book with his three siblings: pretty firstborn daughter Holly, younger brother Dashiell, and the youngest child, 6-year old Claudia. Needless to say, the Mellow children are forever changed (and perhaps forever scarred) after viewing the book.
Fast forward to 30 years later, when the publishers of Pleasuring want to issue an anniversary edition of the book. Paul and Roz Mellow, long since divorced, are no longer on speaking terms and have differing opinions about stepping back into the limelight. The children, now grown, are all grappling with the fallout of growing up as one of the “sex Mellows”. As readers, we get an insider’s view of the unraveling of this family.
Wolitzer’s lyrical writing is spellbinding. At times this book is humorous, at other times it is heartbreaking. Her memories of the 1970’s are so vivid, it is as if we have stepped back in time.
The Position has drawn comparisons to another great book about family strife– Jonathan Franzen’s modern day classic, “The Corrections”. It’s no wonder. Wolitzer has captured the essence of family conflict– the good, the bad, and the ugly. Lucky for us, she has invited us along for the ride.