I Rode the Second Wave: A Feminist Memoir by Fran Abrams

Source: the Poet
Paperback, 88 pgs.
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I Rode the Second Wave: A Feminist Memoir by Fran Abrams is a unique look at what it was like to live in America gradually moving toward providing equality for women. While it is still moving toward equality, this memoir provides a perspective on how far the country has come. Unlike the first wave in which women fought for the right to vote, the second wave emphasized the need for equal pay and opportunity. “Before the Revolution” opens the collection, setting the scene in which women’s job opportunities and men’s job opportunities were separated by gender in the newspaper. Then came Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique.

Abrams’ memoir is divided into three sections and each provides a glimpse into this second wave pioneer’s life. Through her current perspective, Abrams provides a look at the children of now and the children of her growing up years and how things were less scheduled, more free. I can see how things have changed through her eyes. But don’t be fooled that America was equal for all, despite its laws, race and other topics were talked about in whispers, rather than aloud.

“A Girl’s Education” and “It Doesn’t Add Up” will bring to light just how long the phrase “boys will be boys” has been around and enabled young men to take advantage of girls and women alike. It’s a reminder that further education and change is necessary. Abrams’ poems are a story of her life, but they are also reflective of America’s continued struggle to live up to its credo of “Land of the Free.”

"Seeing Myself" (pg. 34)
The words typical and average
rattled around my brain like expletives.
I was studying art and architecture.
Being unusual, no, unique,
was part of my self-image.
I was not a typical co-ed!

Abrams reminds us that like children growing into adulthood, identity evolves and changes. Identity is multi-layered, nuanced. Like America, our identities do not have to be stagnant, they can change. I Rode the Second Wave: A Feminist Memoir by Fran Abrams is a wave you’ll want to catch. Be sure to buy a copy for yourself and for someone who may need a reminder that freedom requires work. Complacency has no place in America’s revolution.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

Fran Abrams lives in Rockville, MD. She holds an undergraduate degree in art and architecture and a master’s degree in urban planning. For 41 years, she worked in government and nonprofit agencies in Montgomery County, MD, where her work involved writing legislation, regulations, memos, and reports.

In 2000, before she retired, she began working as a visual artist. Then, after retiring in 2010, she devoted the majority of her time to her art. After attending a poetry reading in 2017, she realized she missed expressing herself in words and began taking creative writing classes at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, where she concentrated on writing poetry. In September 2017, she traveled to Italy on a poetry retreat that strengthened her commitment to writing poems. She now devotes the most of her time to writing poetry.

Since 2017, her poems have been published online and in print in Cathexis-Northwest Press, The American Journal of Poetry, MacQueen’s Quinterly Literary Magazine, The Raven’s Perch, Gargoyle 74, and others. In 2019, she was a juried poet at Houston (TX) Poetry Fest and a featured reader at DiVerse Gaithersburg (MD) Poetry Reading. Her poems appear in more than a dozen anthologies, including the 2021 collection titled This is What America Looks Like from Washington Writers Publishing House (WWPH). In December 2021, she won the WWPH Winter Poetry Prize for her poem titled “Waiting for Snow.” Her first chapbook, titled “The Poet Who Loves Pythagoras,” is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Her first full-length manuscript, titled “I Rode the Second Wave: A Feminist Memoir,” is out now from Atmosphere Press.


  1. Thank you, Serena! Appreciate your cogent comments!

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