I am not completely satisfied with the review I wrote for Life and Life Only. It's because it's missing something...a lot of something. I think it is something to do with the human condition. I'm writing this aside to accomplish two things: Sing more praise for Life and Life Only and to express the thoughts that have built up from the very first book I read in these reviews.
There are differences in adversities from the time periods 1940-2000, especially for women. Just prior to reading Life and Life Only I read A Rose For My Mother, which is an autobiography of Nancy Canfield. I recognized the struggles she had gone through: helplessness, hopelessness, being beaten, forgotten, left to be alone as a child, uncared for, unloved just because she was a daughter and not a son. And then to read Life and Life Only and realize that my childhood (born 1984) most resembled Dan's childhood rather than Nancy's and my mother's childhood (born 1961) and my grandmother's childhood most resembled Nancy's is a fantastic example of how far the treatment of women in society has come.
I wrote in a college paper once that the literature of a time period is a direct reflection of the society from which the author came. Life and Life Only is an indirect documentation of how the times have changed, especially for women. Because my childhood resembled Dan's more than Nancy's, it is a true indication that men and women are on a more levelled playing field in our time period. I think the story that Life and Life Only tells is more than meets the eye. I think it's a reflection of today's society and a reminder that we are progressing.
To further support the claim of the progression of the human condition, I need to mention Stieg Larrson and his beautiful array of powerful, intelligent, strong and talented women. Because Larrson was Swedish and his female roles are more prominent than the females in the US books I've read recently, it makes me wonder if those on the other side of the pond are more progressive than the US in the area of the progression of the human condition.
At any rate, Larsson, Canfield & Moyer write stories that are good indicators of the societal changes over time. What are some other things that can be traced and documented by our literature?