Faber specifically directed Oh, Lizzie! toward the juvenile reader. By opening the story when Stanton is eleven, Faber immediately draws the young reader into the story with a vignette to which the reader can relate. Written in short paragraphs and chapters, the book moves rapidly from topic to topic. Faber’s writing style is breezy and informal; and the use of dialogue gives the book a personal dimension. The reader could easily be in the same room with the young Elizabeth Cady.
This style, filled with exclamations and a breathless quality, does not travel well into the later parts of the book. This approach gives Stanton a girlish quality that does not sit well on the stout, middle-aged leader of an important social movement. Thus, the style trivializes the accomplishments of Station. In defense of Faber’s style, however, nineteenth century female writers often sprinkled exclamation points throughout their writing and tended to gush and be girlish long past the age of girlhood.
Oh, Lizzie! offers a sympathetic, though simplistic, portrait of Stanton. Faber consistently writes supportively of Stanton’s life and emphasizes her capacity for moral indignation, her vitality and zest for life, and her independent spirit. Stanton early expressed her outrage at the law’s injustices toward women, shown by her desire to excise all discriminatory laws concerning women from her father’s law books. She was also conscious of the paternalistic discrimination that women faced, as exemplified by the refusal of the 1840 abolitionist convention to allow the full...
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First published in 1972, Oh, Lizzie! partly owes its existence to a resurgence of interest in women’s rights that started in 1963. Because of continued interest in this subject, modern audiences are much more sophisticated about women’s issues than the readers for which the book was originally intended. As a result, these young people will see more clearly the contradictions between Stanton’s life and the ideals that she worked so hard to bring to fruition. Many of these same contradictions continue to influence the lives of young women.
Oh, Lizzie! provides a positive introduction to Stanton and to the nineteenth century origins of the women’s rights movement. This book gives the reader a glimpse of the person behind the stout, grandmotherly woman shown in Stanton’s later photographs.