Eileen is nine and too smart for the third grade, but when the clownish school psychologist tries to gain her trust with an offer of Oreos, she refuses. After all, she doesn’t accept gifts from strangers! This is the start of a love-hate relationship with the rules as they were laid out for a girl in 1960s upstate New York—and as they persist in some form today.
As she ascends from her rural public high school, where she wasn’t allowed to take the advanced courses in science and math because she was female, through a physics degree at Yale, to a post-graduate summer that leaves her “peed on, shot at, and kidnapped,” to a marriage where both careers theoretically are respected but, as the wife, she is expected to do all the housework and child-rearing, pay the taxes, and make sure the Roto-Rooter guy arrives on time, Pollack shares with poignant humor and candid language the trials of being smart and female in a world that is just learning to imagine equality between the sexes.
Maybe It’s Me is a question all smart women have asked themselves. Pollack’s autobiographical essays take us on a roller-coaster ride from gratifyingly humorous street-level stories of innocent curiosity to the calculated meanness of tweeny girls to the defensive strategies of threatened men to the 20,000-foot overview of how we all got here.
In the end, Pollack’s message is one of human connection and tenacity because even in her sixth decade, still searching for love, acceptance, and equality, she is still very much in the game.