02 July 2012

"A Girl of the Limberlost" by Gene Stratton-Porter

     I'm a little late to the party.

Reading to Know - Book Club

     I realized that the deadline was coming up and I picked up the book last Wednesday night. I usually can blast through a book like this in a few days so I didn't think it would be a problem. 

     It's a story of a girl named Elnora, who is neglected by a mother whose life has been soured by her husband's early death. The girl rises above her circumstances by finding ways to earn her way through in life. Eventually becoming a teacher, finding love, and reclaiming her mother's heart along the way. 

     This was one of the slowest books I've ever read. I really like peaceful quiet stories, but this will probably have to go down as a little on the boring side. No. A lot on the boring side. It's a pleasant tale, but it was incredibly preachy! I read it before when I was about 14 or 15 and I remember not liking it, but it wasn't for the preachy aspects. So, maybe parents of young girls who would like to give their daughters a hefty dose of sound morals might consider this a good book. Rereading it at the age I am, I found myself saying, "Ok, you made your point. I agree with you. Stop harping on it."

     I didn't like it when I was young because I thought Philip, Elnora's love interest, showed too much attention to Elnora before he had broken off his engagement to his fiancee, Edith. I have somewhat altered my opinion. I DO think he showed a wee bit too much attention to Elnora while they were together, but this time around I did end up believing that he wasn't just breaking up with one girl because he fell for a new one. I, like many of the other bloggers reading this book, agree that Elnora did the right thing by establishing firmly in the mind of Philip and his ex-fiancee that Philip really was "over" Edith. Unfortunately this part, which I tend to consider the redeeming factor, doesn't happen until nearly the end of the book and you have to slog through a LOT to get there.

    Also, there were a few times characters were referenced from her previous works. So, I'm sure a reading of Freckles would have helped. I had Freckles read to me when I was a very very young person, so I had absolutely no recollection of who the other characters were. And when you have two characters named "Freckles" and "The Swamp Angel" it leaves you more than a little curious.

     Again, it's a book I think is tame and pleasant and maybe good for younger girls, but I could think of quite a few young adult books that I personally would rather read. Anne of Green Gables comes to mind. I'm glad it was picked for June because I highly doubt I would have picked it up again for any other reason.


Carrie said...

I liked hearing your opinion, since it was a re-read for you. C.S. Lewis said that a children's book that cannot also be enjoyed by adults is not a very good children's book. Applied here, instead of just saying it's good for younger girls, it wouldn't be good at all. :D (Or very good anyway.)

Slog is a good word for this book - at least the first half. I liked the second half well enough. I just had to get there!

BerlinerinPoet said...

Heh...well, I'd hate to disagree with Mr. Lewis, so I'm sure he's right there. There are some books I liked as a kid, but I probably wouldn't find entirely interesting now. BUT...I maybe was just too easily pleased. :-)

On another note entirely the font for this blog is all wrong, and I've forced myself to not be bothered by it, but every time I see it it's annoying.

BerlinerinPoet said...


Barbara H. said...

Somehow I missed this during Carrie's book club for June. I had read both Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost as a child and remembered loving them then. At this stage, though, the writing seemed terribly old-fashioned and slow. I listened to them via audiobook this time, and that helped because I was doing other things while listening: they would have seemed more tedious, I think, if I'd read them. But Freckles and the Swamp Angel and Elnora do have admirable qualities.

BerlinerinPoet said...

@Barbara H: Agreed! And it wasn't that I disagreed with any of the morals. I thought a lot of them were actually very good. It was just the hammering of them into the mind of the reader that I was kind of thinking...ok, that's enough!

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!