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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Making It Up: The Vassar Class of ‘65 on the Cusp of Change is a work of non-fiction in the memoir and social issues subgenres. It is intended for the general reading audience and was penned by author Selby McPhee. As the title suggests, the writing follows a group of young women who graduate from Vassar in 1965 as the world around them is changing rapidly. After the housewife expectations of the 1950s and the post-war austerity around the globe, a whole new life of possibility and opportunity opens up for Selby and her friends. What results is a celebration of female empowerment and adaptation to a rapidly-shifting world.
Contemporary history is always a fascinating subject for those who recall it and those who want to better understand the generations before them and how they have shaped the world we currently have. Author Selby McPhee has crafted a superb work of resonant social history that reconciles the gap between the typical homemaker mentality of functionalism in the 1950s through to the birth of the modern woman as we know her today. She has a keen talent for embedding emotion and sentimentality into the friends she writes about without it ever becoming too saccharine, and I found the dialogue to be extremely well crafted and unique to each person featured. Selby also presents herself in an authentic way as a confident but never overpowering narrator and participant. Overall, Making It Up is a must-read for anyone interested in women’s history and for those who enjoy heartfelt memoirs that are also well-penned inspirational works.