WEIGHT OF A WOMAN
Newest Novel by Judith Jackson-Pomeroy
Weight of a Woman: Synopsis
Professor Sara Wolfe is on a mission to shatter the hegemony one college lecture at a time, creating a world free from the confines of gendered reality. She thinks the one obstacle to this lofty goal is her adjunct status at a no-name university in rural Massachusetts, so she writes a book and applies to Wellesley, with hopes of academic superstardom and access to the masses. But she puts her dreams on the line when she makes one bad choice after another. Specifically, she flirts shamelessly with her graduate students, but only when she’s drunk, which is most of the time. And, while she views monogamy as the bedfellow of the hegemonic order, she avoids being single at all costs, drifting from one inappropriate relationship to another.
Also, she has what her friends call an eating disorder. But in deepest denial, Sara scoffs at their perception of it, avoiding the contradictions in her life by telling herself alternative truths about this and all her other self-destructive tendencies.
Along the way, Sara meets Seth Coles, a local musician on the precipice of fame. While Sara has grave concerns about his emotional stability and sexual proclivities, and even suspects a drug habit, when he enrolls in her class and they embark on a career-threatening friendship she’s gone too far. While her best friends, Marco Gonzalves (an award-winning poet) and Jane Curran (director of the campus-based Women’s Center where, ironically, Sara counsels girls with food issues), try to save her with alcohol-ridden intervention parties, Sara only continues to get closer to Seth, increase her alcohol intake, and lose more weight.
When she gets good news from Wellesley, an amazing book deal, and international accolades touting her as a thought leader, things are finally looking up. But at 95 pounds and finding herself in bed with Seth, she’s too faint to feel much of anything. The realization causes chaos inside her psyche and Sara, usually a master at spinning an alternative reality about her drinking, sex with a student, and bizarre relationship with food, is too exhausted to make the excuses lucid even to herself. She faces a decision: self-implode or connect her self-destructive ways with the damage of a past sexual assault.
She commits herself to getting well, which includes learning to eat again, staying out of Seth’s bed, and cutting back on drinking. But while she finds it easy to help mend girls like her, she just can’t fix things for herself and she runs to Seth.
On and off the wellness track, Sara is finally at Wellesley, but it’s not going well. Under stress of the expectations and nagging flu-like symptoms, Sara realizes that, while in the past her lack of food had stopped her period, this time it's pregnancy.
Seth proposes marriage, but of course she can’t participate in that. Or can she? As a thought leader, maybe it’s her responsibility to work from within the system and model an unexpurgated version of a hackneyed institution. Maybe.