I Rode the Second Wave | Critical Book Review

In her memoir, I Rode the Second Wave, Fran Abrams takes readers on a profound journey through her life, offering a poignant glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of a woman who defied societal norms well ahead of her time.

A Feminist Pioneer Before Her Time

Abrams, born in the 1940s, defied the expectations imposed on women during an era when gender roles were rigidly defined. In a time when girls were groomed for homemaking and non-married women were confined to “women’s” professions, Abrams pursued a career in urban planning, earning a master’s degree and navigating a male-dominated field with unparalleled determination.

Navigating the Litanies of Patriarchy

The memoir traces Abrams’ encounters with the patriarchal obstacles that peppered her journey. From enduring harassment in middle school to facing assault from a teacher in eighth grade, Abrams candidly recounts the challenges she confronted, highlighting the pervasive misogyny that permeated her formative years.

The Uncharted Path of a Trailblazer

Abrams’ aspirations to become an architect were stifled by a sexist professor in college, an obstacle she faced with muted resilience. Undeterred, she completed graduate school in urban planning, became proficient in early computers, and emerged as a trailblazer in her field, often finding herself as the sole woman in the room.

Balancing Career and Motherhood

Balancing career ambitions and motherhood, Abrams faced skepticism and discriminatory remarks, exemplified by a council member questioning her suitability for the role of head of Environmental Protection while pregnant. Her experiences as a working mother shed light on the persistent challenges women face in professional spheres.

Tackling Crucial Issues

Abrams doesn’t shy away from addressing pivotal issues in her memoir. She delves into women’s sexuality, double standards, and racial dynamics, sharing her personal encounters with ‘White flight,’ Jim Crow laws, and a love affair with a Black man. Her involvement in the fight for gender equality, including battles for equal pay and rights, adds layers of depth to her narrative.

A Debt of Gratitude

Fran Abrams emerges as a trailblazer who paved the way for future generations of women. I Rode the Second Wave serves as a testament to her resilience, challenging readers to reflect on the societal transformations she and her contemporaries initiated. We owe a debt of gratitude to Abrams and the courageous women of her generation who dared to traverse uncharted paths.

Book Details

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Atmosphere PressNonfiction / Poetry88 pages978-1639886548

In her memoir, I Rode the Second Wave, Fran Abrams takes readers on a profound journey through her life, offering a poignant glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of a woman who defied societal norms well ahead of her time. A Feminist Pioneer Before Her Time Abrams, born in the 1940s, defied the expectations imposed…