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The Sheltered Life

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  76 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
The Sheltered Life, " writes Carol S. Manning in her Afterword to this new paperback edition, is "a jewel of American literature and deserves recognition as a masterpiece of the Southern Renaissance." It is a remarkably unsentimental look at the old South, a society that blindly holds to past values enforced by a strict code of conduct, being overtaken by the new age of in ...more
Paperback, 329 pages
Published January 29th 1994 by University of Virginia Press (first published 1932)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Help by Kathryn StockettThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Best Southern Literature
419th out of 887 books — 2,243 voters
The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyOf Mice and Men by John SteinbeckThe Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Best Books of the Decade: 1930s
254th out of 456 books — 786 voters


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Community Reviews

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Rita
Jun 25, 2007 Rita rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: american-fiction
Great story [publ. 1932] portraying growing up in the Old South [Richmond, Virginia] before WW II. For a woman, why being beautiful was almost everything, and for everyone, how crucial keeping up appearances was, more important than anything else.

I like Glasgow's term for this kind of pretending, or insincerity: "evasive idealism".

Glasgow shows us how this works through the eyes of a 9 year old girl and her 79 year old grandfather. It explains a lot!
Ashley
Feb 02, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
One of Glasgow's best novels and the one I would have liked to have seen receive the Pulitzer. Steeped in irony, the novel follows a young Jenny Blair as she learns to see behind the subterfuge of the adults who are all pretending to different lives than the ones they lead. From Eva Birdsong, the beautiful operatic singer who left her career for romance only to find herself married to a womanizer who carries on a lengthy affair with one of the "mulatto" women who works for the families in their ...more
Lindsey
Dec 26, 2013 Lindsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This reads like a YA novel with an existential undertone. Glasgow takes her theme about the destructiveness of social conventions that require people to do their duty and keep up appearances, and she beats the reader over the head with it.

The book is divided into three parts, and the middle part is more of a prose piece in which the aging General Archbald reflects on a missed chance that could have led to happiness, if propriety hadn't got in the way. This is a lovely little detour from the suf
...more
Lizzie
Aug 11, 2015 Lizzie marked it as to-read
I really want to try her out and this sort of sounds like the one that might most easily strike my fancy, though Virginia is the one on the 500 women list, and In This Our Life is the Pulitzer winner. Curious. Like some kind of Wharton-Faulkner mashup sounding sort of thing.
Angela
Aug 31, 2012 Angela rated it really liked it
I would have given this 3 1/2 stars. I liked the story but it could have used a better editor. It tended to repeat itself in fact or sometimes just in theme. Forty or so pages could have been trimmed off without affecting the story. I would compare in style to Edith Wharton. It is interesting that some of the details in this book parallel Glasgow's own life. Specifically, the description of Eva Birdsong is the same as that made by the author of her mother.
Elaine
Oct 22, 2011 Elaine rated it really liked it
My affection for this book grew the more that I read. Initially, prose had sounded flowery and stilted to me but gradually I became accustomed to Glasgow's style. I think that some of the main characters will remain in my memory and those memories will be poignant as the book ends in a tragic and shocking event and its repercussions for the 4 main characters are memorable.
Bettie☯
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Wanda
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Judy Bainbridge
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica
Aug 09, 2007 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: modern-fiction
I probably should have found this more interesting than I did, considering it's set in Richmond, but I had a very difficult time getting into this book. It had all the plot elements of a "juicy" story, but the writing failed to engage.
K Krause
Apr 22, 2009 K Krause rated it really liked it
Makes you realize no one is truly "sheltered" from life or from themselves.
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155811
aka Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow

Born into an upper-class Virginian family, Glasgow rebelled at an early age against traditional expectations of women, becoming a best-selling author of 20 novels, the last of which (In This Our Life) won a Pulitzer Prize in 1942.

The majority of her novels have Southern settings, reflecting her awareness of the enormous social and economic changes occuring in t
...more
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“The only natural human beings seem to be those who are making trouble.” 5 likes
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