Her Life's Work

Shepard, Deborah

  17 Reviews

Writer Deborah Shepard interviews five eminent New Zealand women: Jacqueline Fahey, Margaret Mahy, Merimeri Penfold, Gaylene Preston and Anne Salmond. All born in the first half of the 20th Century, these women reflect on all facets of their lives, especially their journeys to prominence in their chosen fields while juggling the demands of motherhood and family. These engaging and inspiring dialogues offer an important feminist perspective on ordinary women aspiring to and achieving extraordinary lives. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups

The general consensus was that it was a great book - at least two members want to buy it. Levin 1

All members enjoyed the book, some thought they would have preferred a narrative style rather than Q and A. Good questions evoked good discussion. Wellington 134

We had a stimulating discussion about the role of women and feminism. Westport 1

What a great insight into five well known New Zealand women. We all learnt alot. Some members struggled with the question/answer format which made the book slower to read. PioPio 1.



NELS 009
We loved the book and found it very interesting and inspiring. With most of us being over 70, we could relate to many of the values espoused in the book.
CHCH 393
An amazing story/account of the life of six N.Z. women. Liked the Q and A format.
CHCH 050
Very interesting read, a worthwhile book for any N.Z. woman to read. The reader gets very good descriptions of how N.Z society's expectations and attitudes have changed through the 50s, 60s and 70s of managing paid work and bringing up children. Interesting how the fathers and husbands have behaved and helped in the relationships - some could have been more helpful. An engrossing read.
Our group recognised these women as having made a mark on N.Z. culture. The interviews all followed a similar pattern. We would have liked more photos of their work, and more information about their families.
Most readers found the book boring, and didn't enjoy the style in which it was written. However, it did inspire robust discussion, especially about feminism.
TURA 001
Great read, filled up with so much history! Very interesting - we hardly put the book down. Enjoyed the interview style of writing. Everyone enjoyed it!
WELL 200
We enjoyed the book ( though several of us plodded through it rather slowly!) and found the women's stories engaging and inspiring. Most of us are in mid-life (40s-50s) and are at the busy stage of juggling children and work, so the perspective of the women looking back over their lives, helped us to see our own current lives from a different perspective. It was interesting to get glimpses of a N.Z. we have not experienced for ourselves (e.g. early 1900s rural Northland).
CHCH 277
Mixed reactions - loved by some, but not enjoyed by others who found the format irritating. All subjects were admired to some extent however, and discussion centred on changes in childhood education as well as changes in attitudes.
Readers commented that they enjoyed this book much more than they had expected to at first glance. Much discussion - a good choice for our group.
GORE 006
Everyone enjoyed reading about these amazing women.
We all found this book most interesting, following the lives of these women. Some of us were lucky to go and see the exhibition of Jacqueline Fahey - it gave us insight to her paintings after reading and listening to the audio. They paved the way for our younger women of today, but not a lot has changed in the sense of women still juggling careers and family.
Everyone found this book very informative and topical. We all had our favourite NZ woman, and most of us are going to explore their life further.
ASHH 001
When handed this book the group wasn't very receptive, as many prefer fiction. However it was surprisingly (to them!) enjoyed, and stimulated good discussion, even though 10 years have passed since it was written. Interesting variation and juxtaposition of lives and circumstances, with the common thread of persistence and vision.
TAUR 004
An interesting insight into 5 high achieving NZ women, whose names we know, but realised how little we knew about them. It was insightful to read how their focus and determination helped them to achieve their goals at a time where women's roles were very prescribed by societal norms.
Worth reading - inspirational women, all with amazing lives. Anne Salmond was top of the list - please can we meet her!
RICH 004
NELS 071
Everyone loved this book, and we had a great discussion about feminism and how times have/have not changed from when these women were creative working mothers.