Caitlin Flanagan perhaps "owes her success largely to a misogynistic media that loves a catfight...[but she] has so masterfully created a persona that it virtually guarantees literary celebrity," says the LAT's Gina Piccalo in a profile pegged to the New Yorker writer's new book that is infuriating some feminists.
She's been called "a retrograde feminist-hater," "shrill, smug and condescending," "an Old World elitist of the most lip-curling kind" even "the most repellent person in the world."
That's because in the five or so years she has written on domestic life from her Los Angeles vantage point — on its being "laughably child centered," on the "epidemic" of sexless marriages, on her belief that "when a mother works, something is lost" — Flanagan has aimed her intellect and razor wit directly at upper-middle-class working mothers.
These are the women who seem to be a natural audience for the 44-year old Flanagan, who lives in Hancock Park with her husband and two young sons. She socializes in liberal circles, and she writes about working mothers' struggles: to keep households humming, to cope with ego-gratifying yet demanding careers, and to live with the nagging specter of the Perfect Mother. But because Flanagan writes cloaked as a (mostly) happy housewife, she's raised the ire of her peers. In their view, the only thing more maddening than a happy housewife is a happy housewife who writes for the New Yorker.
Flanagan's book To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife arrives Monday.
Photo: Los Angeles Times/Francine Orr