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HE, SHE, IT: A Novel ~Marge Piercy

HE, SHE, IT is not a new novel and it is one from my own personal library. I read it the first time in 1991 when it was required reading at the college where I worked.   It was fascinating when I first read it and it stuck with me over all the years.   Then I saw it for 5 cents on a sale table and I purchased it to read again and I was not disappointed.  I even put it on our book group’s schedule for November of this year because I wanted to make sure I read it again.

Long story short of it, I liked this book then and I liked this book now. The writing is fabulous and the parallel stories give it a solid strength and dynamic, and I just could not get enough of the similarities to how our world is turning out right now.    Any binge TV watchers or movie series in the room?

The story takes place in the 21st Century after lots of pollution and soil erosion has ruined the environment. Shira is a brilliant tech person working for the Big Multi Corporations, who has just experienced a divorce and having her child taken away. She escapes her trauma and her job by going back to a free town, Tikva, where her Grandmother a brilliant programmer and historian reared her. Tikva is a free settlement and the people grow their own “real” not vat food and are working at restoring bird life and moral values to their primarily Jewish community.

Shira’s Grandmother and her colleague have built a robot/ cyborg to protect their community not only on the NET but also in their personal lives and this is illegal because the cyborg looks and acts human.  Shira falls in love with Yod and he assists her in recovering her son and bringing him to Tikva.

“As always, Piercy writes with high intelligence, love for the world, ethical passion, and innate feminism.”  (Adrienne Rich – book cover).

The parallel story of the Jewish Golem in Prague in the 1600s is quite fascinating and an interesting replay of that tradition in Jewish literature.  How to build salvation, redemption, and protection in a robot or clay to save the city and the religion from persecution?   A question with a lifetime of study and well handled in HE, SHE, IT.

There are so many parallels to our current lives that it is amazing that the story was written so many years ago.   We seem to need to be entertained and to keep our minds distracted.   We need to earn credits (money) to perfect our physical selves and to dazzle with our clothing and exterior bling.  We don’t seem to be able to control or understand our emotions and dozens of folks are on our streets with their own brand of justice and weapons. Women are expendable and lower class than men. Binge watching is our stimulation and we can download so many distractions and find ways to follow any fad or temporary fixes.  Distractions are us.   Not many thinkers or readers and definitely not many questioners and folks analyzing the situation.

I am looking forward to discussing this book with my book group and digging into the moral issues and the meaningful issues presented in this story. I think you will not be disappointed and I highly recommend HE, SHE, IT to my readers.

There is lots of action and romance in this story.  HE, SHE, IT stands the test of time.

About the Author:

“Marge Piercy is the author of numerous novels, among them Woman on the Edge of Time, Vida, Braided Lives, Gone to Soldiers, and Summer People.  She has written 15 volumes of Poetry by the time this book was published.  She has coauthored a play, The Last White Class, with her husband Ira Wood, the Novelist and screen writer, with who she lives on Cape Cod.”

I could actually just fill up this whole review with a list of her writing.  Piercy is prolific and an essential writer to everyone’s list of great reads.  She is an activist.

Marge Piercy Wikipedia 

The Sowing 
The Shock Doctrine 
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter 
When Women Were Birds

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6 Responses to “HE, SHE, IT: A Novel ~Marge Piercy”

  1. Terrill Welch Says:

    Patricia this is also one of my favourite books and I also read it as a part of a university course in 1990. I have replaced it several times in my personal library because I keep telling people about the book and then loaning it out to have it never return. But I haven’t read it again. You have inspired me – putting it in this winter’s reading list! Great review!
    Terrill Welch recently posted..Northern California Contemporary Landscape Oil PaintingsMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    I was so happy to discover this book and to read it again. I am hoping my book group will enjoy it also and there are so many themes. I did like that the women were not being attacked for birth control and health issues and were well covered with their needs.

    It is our Jewish Community which is working hardest against fossil fuels in our area and their bonding is their strength

    Thank you for sharing the book on FB and other spots. I think we need to read it again and again

  2. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia – I’m glad you’ve re-read this book and so were able to put a post up here. I like the idea of parallels to today and yet futuristic 21st century written before it turned up .. and then reverting back to the 1600s …

    Recently I keep coming across books that span the centuries … I’m glad I know about this and can pick it up, and ‘meet’ Marge Piercy and her writings .. at some future date – I hope not the 22nd century!

    It’s on my radar … cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Blog Sandwich Update 5 … Sharon; Bomber Command Memorial Eastbourne; Canterbury Cathedral’s Ancestor’s Medieval Windows and some food …My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Very much enjoyed this read Hilary and am excited to hear what my book group thinks about it too.

    I have enjoyed a number of Piercy’s books over time and I hope you do get an opportunity before the 22nd Century!

  3. Sam Juliano Says:

    A re-read tells you many things about the initial foray, obviously. Based on what you say in this superbly written piece and the equally appreciative comments, it is essential stuff!
    Sam Juliano recently posted..28. Germany Year ZeroMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    A favorite book and a wonderful writer.
    Thank you for your kind words – easy to write when the read has a powerful influence on the soul