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Meg Wolitzer’s “hilariously moving, sharply written novel” (USA TODAY), hailed by critics and loved by readers worldwide, with its “dead-on observations about sex, marriage, and the family ties that strangle and bind” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Crackling with intelligence and humor, The Position is the masterful story of one extraordinary family at the hilarious height of the sexual revolution—and through the thirty-year hangover that followed.

In 1975, Paul and Roz Mellow write a bestselling Joy of Sex-type book that mortifies their four school-aged children and ultimately changes the shape of the family forever. Thirty years later, as the now dispersed family members argue over whether to reissue the book, we follow the complicated lives of each of the grown children and their conflicts in love, work, marriage, parenting, and, of course, sex—all shadowed by the indelible specter of their highly sexualized parents. Insightful, panoramic, and compulsively readable, The Position is an American original.

Topics: United States of America, 1970s, Sex, Family, Siblings, Coming of Age, and Lesbian Characters

Published: Scribner on Aug 24, 2010
ISBN: 9781439103654
List price: $13.99
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This book was nothing like I thought it would be from reading the back of it. I thought it would be lighter type of funny, and mindless. I should have known when one of the reviews on the back was from The New Yorker. If you like the Author Jonathan Franzen, and especially his book Freedom: A Novel, you will like this book. It is the story of a husband and wife of 4 children, who in the mid 1970's decide to write a book similar to The Joy of Sex, and decide to use themselves (mother and father, not the whole family) to depict all of the sexual acts in the book with illustrations. The story is what happens to the family after the book is published. I only wish the Author had developed to character Holly with a little more detail.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
When I first read the back of this book I thought it sounded potentially hilarious and at the very least quite interesting. And while the premise certainly is interesting, Wolitzer falls a little flat on her delivery. The story begins in the seventies when the Mellows first publish their how-to sex guide (featuring illustrations of themselves in all the positions!) but rapidly moves to the present day and focuses on the current lives and loves of the four grown children.It's hard to imagine, but this story truly was boring. The book was well-written, the author's way with language and humor was fairly adept, and yet I was just soooo bored. The adult characters were really still just whiny adolescents blaming their parents for all their problems, and the parents were now retirees unable to accept the realities of age and still stuck in the memory of their sexual heyday.Wolitzer's primary focus in the book is certainly the notion of self-discovery -- a worthy one for discussion and certainly relevant to any reader, as were other primary issues (family, expectations, sexuality, acceptance.) I think all the right elements were present in the novel but never quite achieved their potential. I give this book 2.5 stars - it would make a good beach read, but make sure you're wearing sunscreen in case you fall asleep!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Meet the Mallow family. There are four children, Michael, Dashiell, Claudia and Holly. They are all seemingly normal except for the fact that when they were children, their parents created a book on sex, which would forever change their lives. I really enjoyed this book!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Alright, so once I picked it back up it wasn't that bad, it was actually pretty decent. Actually, I think I liked it. I think. I'm still not exactly sure.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Imagine: it's 1975, and your parents have just co-authored a book called Pleasuring: One Couple's Journey to Fulfillment, complete with illustrations featuring, yes, your parents. How does this affect you and your siblings, and the family dynamic?The first two chapters are better than everything that follows, but overall I'd still recommend this to anyone.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Last weekend I finally got around to putting a lock on our master bedroom door. Nothing big, just a simple latch, but it may be one of the most important home improvements I've ever made. While nobody wants to be interrupted during... um... relations, it's just as important to make sure kids aren't scarred for life from seeing their parents knock boots (as the missus so romantically puts it). Most folks wouldn't want their kids (or anyone) to have to see that. Unfortunately for the Mellows, their parents aren't like most folks.The Mellow family of Meg Wolitzer's novel The Position don’t have the luxury of blocking out their parents’ sex life. Their parents are world-famous for writing Pleasuring: One Couple's Journey to Fulfillment, a Joy of Sex-like book that includes detailed directions (with drawings that look an awful lot like Mom and Dad) for performing pretty much any lovemaking position, including a new one created just for the book.The discovery of their parents' book (high up on the family bookshelf) acts as the starting point for the story of a family growing apart and dealing with their fame/infamy in different ways. The fact that the book’s publisher wants to re-issue it for a thirtieth anniversary edition forces the family to once again deal with the book's legacy and each other.With the unusual storyline, I expected the novel be full of either comedy or pathos, but Wolitzer finds a way to include a limited amount of both. She has a way of inserting day-to-day humor into her stories to keep them realistic, with little being played just for laughs. In the same way, she adds drama without turning everything into a melodrama. Wolitzer makes sure not to blame the parents' book completely for how the children turn out, which only adds depth to each of their stories.I read Wolitzer's novel The Wife last year and before that had read some of her short stories. After finishing The Wife, I was convinced that Wolitzer was an exceptional storyteller, and The Position has not changed that opinion. Even when writing novels, Wolitzer has a concise short story-like writing style that quickly pulls you into each family member's narrative.The Position reminded me a bit of a kinder, gentler, less wacky version of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, which was one of my favorite reads from last year. While The Position isn't quite as good as that book, both take you deep into the the life of a family to the point that they feel like they could be the family down the block, or in the case of the Mellows, way up on the bookshelf.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Come on, admit it. The thought of your parents having sex makes you a little uncomfortable. Imagine if they write an illustrated book about it and it became a National Bestseller. Now fast-forward 30 years and meet the Mellows: Roz and Paul, the co-authors, who are on their 2nd and 3rd marriages respectively; and their 4 children, each of whom has unique quirks because of growing up in the shadow of such intimate knowledge about their parents. A highly...pleasurable...read. -Emilyread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Liked, did not love. In the annals of family politics, I'll go with "Family Pictures", "When We Were Grownups", or "Case Histories". I give it 4 stars for quality of writing, but 3 for quality of my reading experience.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A terrific book about the impact a parents' sex book has on their, and their four children's, lives.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

This book was nothing like I thought it would be from reading the back of it. I thought it would be lighter type of funny, and mindless. I should have known when one of the reviews on the back was from The New Yorker. If you like the Author Jonathan Franzen, and especially his book Freedom: A Novel, you will like this book. It is the story of a husband and wife of 4 children, who in the mid 1970's decide to write a book similar to The Joy of Sex, and decide to use themselves (mother and father, not the whole family) to depict all of the sexual acts in the book with illustrations. The story is what happens to the family after the book is published. I only wish the Author had developed to character Holly with a little more detail.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
When I first read the back of this book I thought it sounded potentially hilarious and at the very least quite interesting. And while the premise certainly is interesting, Wolitzer falls a little flat on her delivery. The story begins in the seventies when the Mellows first publish their how-to sex guide (featuring illustrations of themselves in all the positions!) but rapidly moves to the present day and focuses on the current lives and loves of the four grown children.It's hard to imagine, but this story truly was boring. The book was well-written, the author's way with language and humor was fairly adept, and yet I was just soooo bored. The adult characters were really still just whiny adolescents blaming their parents for all their problems, and the parents were now retirees unable to accept the realities of age and still stuck in the memory of their sexual heyday.Wolitzer's primary focus in the book is certainly the notion of self-discovery -- a worthy one for discussion and certainly relevant to any reader, as were other primary issues (family, expectations, sexuality, acceptance.) I think all the right elements were present in the novel but never quite achieved their potential. I give this book 2.5 stars - it would make a good beach read, but make sure you're wearing sunscreen in case you fall asleep!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Meet the Mallow family. There are four children, Michael, Dashiell, Claudia and Holly. They are all seemingly normal except for the fact that when they were children, their parents created a book on sex, which would forever change their lives. I really enjoyed this book!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Alright, so once I picked it back up it wasn't that bad, it was actually pretty decent. Actually, I think I liked it. I think. I'm still not exactly sure.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Imagine: it's 1975, and your parents have just co-authored a book called Pleasuring: One Couple's Journey to Fulfillment, complete with illustrations featuring, yes, your parents. How does this affect you and your siblings, and the family dynamic?The first two chapters are better than everything that follows, but overall I'd still recommend this to anyone.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Last weekend I finally got around to putting a lock on our master bedroom door. Nothing big, just a simple latch, but it may be one of the most important home improvements I've ever made. While nobody wants to be interrupted during... um... relations, it's just as important to make sure kids aren't scarred for life from seeing their parents knock boots (as the missus so romantically puts it). Most folks wouldn't want their kids (or anyone) to have to see that. Unfortunately for the Mellows, their parents aren't like most folks.The Mellow family of Meg Wolitzer's novel The Position don’t have the luxury of blocking out their parents’ sex life. Their parents are world-famous for writing Pleasuring: One Couple's Journey to Fulfillment, a Joy of Sex-like book that includes detailed directions (with drawings that look an awful lot like Mom and Dad) for performing pretty much any lovemaking position, including a new one created just for the book.The discovery of their parents' book (high up on the family bookshelf) acts as the starting point for the story of a family growing apart and dealing with their fame/infamy in different ways. The fact that the book’s publisher wants to re-issue it for a thirtieth anniversary edition forces the family to once again deal with the book's legacy and each other.With the unusual storyline, I expected the novel be full of either comedy or pathos, but Wolitzer finds a way to include a limited amount of both. She has a way of inserting day-to-day humor into her stories to keep them realistic, with little being played just for laughs. In the same way, she adds drama without turning everything into a melodrama. Wolitzer makes sure not to blame the parents' book completely for how the children turn out, which only adds depth to each of their stories.I read Wolitzer's novel The Wife last year and before that had read some of her short stories. After finishing The Wife, I was convinced that Wolitzer was an exceptional storyteller, and The Position has not changed that opinion. Even when writing novels, Wolitzer has a concise short story-like writing style that quickly pulls you into each family member's narrative.The Position reminded me a bit of a kinder, gentler, less wacky version of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, which was one of my favorite reads from last year. While The Position isn't quite as good as that book, both take you deep into the the life of a family to the point that they feel like they could be the family down the block, or in the case of the Mellows, way up on the bookshelf.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Come on, admit it. The thought of your parents having sex makes you a little uncomfortable. Imagine if they write an illustrated book about it and it became a National Bestseller. Now fast-forward 30 years and meet the Mellows: Roz and Paul, the co-authors, who are on their 2nd and 3rd marriages respectively; and their 4 children, each of whom has unique quirks because of growing up in the shadow of such intimate knowledge about their parents. A highly...pleasurable...read. -Emily
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Liked, did not love. In the annals of family politics, I'll go with "Family Pictures", "When We Were Grownups", or "Case Histories". I give it 4 stars for quality of writing, but 3 for quality of my reading experience.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A terrific book about the impact a parents' sex book has on their, and their four children's, lives.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
good
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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