The Group is a waste of time and tuition

The Group follows eight expensively educated Vassar alumnae of 1933 as they are launched from the college’s privileged porticos into abyss of the Great Depression.

Although the stigma of money and class clings to them, they know themselves humble: every one of them plans to work, if only in a volunteer capacity. The Group know themselves to be Women With Something To Contribute.

Only Polly Andrews, who had to accept a scholarship to complete college, has anything resembling work skills; the others assure themselves Polly is still one of their very dearest friends despite her financially embarrassed state.

Theses alums are, individually and collectively, pains in the butt.

Mary McCarthy believes the novelist should show, not tell, so she shows these muttonheads’ lives dust mote by dust mote. From their politics to their potty training methods, their sex lives to their silverware, readers see it all.

It’s not pretty.

It’s also not interesting.

From the time the first of the group marries a week after Commencement until she falls 20 floors to her death from her room at the Vassar Club is only a decade, a mere 378 pages, but it seems much, much longer.

The Group
by Mary McCarthy
Harcourt, Brace & World
©1954, ©1963 Mary McCarthy
378 pages
1963 bestseller #2
 © 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni
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