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Tending to Virginia

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  282 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
"Exuberant . . . three generations of Southern women . . . (and) the ties that bind them".--"The New York Times Book Review". "A profound picture of the legacies of families, one that will stay in the reader's mind".--"The Memphis Commercial Appeal".
Paperback, 328 pages
Published October 21st 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published September 30th 1987)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggThe Help by Kathryn StockettThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Great Books of Southern Fiction
113th out of 206 books — 376 voters
Three by Tennessee by Tennessee WilliamsThe Samaritan's Pistol by Eric BishopResurrecting Lazarus, Texas by Nathan BarberA Religious Orgy in Tennessee by H.L. MenckenNotes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson
Name of State (USA): T-W
91st out of 121 books — 23 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 18, 2008 Suzanne rated it liked it
I'd have to say this was my least favorite of all Ms. McCorkle's novels. I absolutely loved Carolina Moon and consider it to be in my top 20 novels, so perhaps my expectations were too high. The storytelling itself is genius in the build up of suspense of secrets revealed as the storm rages outside and characters are well developed. I think what didn't appeal was the almost stream-of-consciousness telling of the stories. The approach is effective in show casing the chism between reality and ...more
Oct 19, 2008 Kristina rated it liked it
I found this book hard to keep up with. I couldn't keep track of who was who's mother, daughter, etc.
Jan 27, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It may be my favorite ever. I've read it at least twice but it has been awhile.
This was a terrible book. Very difficult to follow, disjointed.
Carolyn F.

Virginia is not sure her husband really loves her when he says while she's pregnant with his child that his first wife aborted their child and that he never would have left her but she was the one who wanted to end the marriage. Now she's angry and bitter with him and wants to go home. She does take off with only the clothes on her back and when she gets to her grandmother's house, she's started bleeding so she has to have bed rest. The problem is almost all the ladies in her family ar
Dec 27, 2008 Peggy rated it really liked it
I was looking for some more Southern Women Writers when I found Jill McCorkle. Tending to Virginia is an interesting book. It is the story of Virginia who is suffering from pregnancy complications. As she lies delirious,and her family is tending to her needs, we learn about the generations of her family in a series of vignettes. She had some pretty quirky relatives, including a nutty grandmother and a friend, Cyndi, who thinks all there is to life is finding a man. (She has already found 3 to ...more
Amy Kitchell-Leighty
Mar 13, 2015 Amy Kitchell-Leighty rated it it was amazing
Every time I read one of McCorkle's books I am blown away from her gorgeous prose. Through flashbacks and details down to the smallest grain of sand, she brings her characters to life in Tending to Virginia, and not just simply breathing life into these fictional people, but making the reader believe they are out there somewhere truly living. And then those characters--and not just in this book, but her others as well--continue to live in the mind of the reader long after the book is placed back ...more
May 27, 2009 Peg rated it really liked it
One of my new favorite Southern authors. See my review of Ferris Beach for details re author.
"This is the story of Virgina Turner Ballard, known to NC relatives as Ginny Sue. It is also the story of her mother, grandmother, great aunts, her closest cousin - three generations of women who gather around Virgina to help her at the end of her hard pregnancy, to tend to her, to help her prepare for the fourth generation. This kind of family attendance, this tending to, is Southern to the core, offeri
Nov 21, 2007 Debbie rated it really liked it
This starts out very slow, and I almost gave up. But Jill Mccorkle is such an amazing writer, so gifted with voice and wit, that I kept on. Once you get to know the MILLION characters, it is fine. Lots of voices, lots of characters and interrelationships. Drink coffee, stay alert, and, then go on a very interesting ride backwards. It is a backwards story. All backstory, but very well done. Also, very very southern. So, be prepared for a lot of southern humor and charm, no action and backstory. ...more
Jan 20, 2008 Jenny rated it it was amazing
In a frightening way this is like reading about my family, I loved this book, I feel like I know these people. A great piece of southern fiction.
Marlene Debo
Oct 30, 2012 Marlene Debo rated it really liked it
I'm on page 3 & I'm hooked. Love me some Southern fiction! Do people who aren't from the South enjoy this genre? I think I read this in the 1980s, but I can't wait till lunch so I can read some more!
Jun 12, 2015 Ig-88 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rem nobis fuga temporibus debitis recusandae aut. Et asperiores facilis in accusantium consequatur qui. Quis totam veniam at error id.
Dec 18, 2009 Britt rated it did not like it
I found Virginia insipid. The book on the whole was boring and cliche. Couldn't bring myself to finish.
McCorkle writes in a way that is funny and charming, without being even the tiniest bit mawkish. I love her to bits.
Naomi V
Mar 16, 2013 Naomi V marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
zero stars. didn't finish it.

i'm going to see this author at a book signing soon, and i'll have to keep my mouth shut and just listen, i guess. too bad. i really did try
Jan 03, 2015 Robin rated it it was amazing
One of Jill's best books-I laughed, cried- this was MY family. Took a writer's workshop under Jill in Boston several years ago-taught me so much. Became friends. She is so talented!
Jun 26, 2012 Erin rated it liked it
Another re-read. The story is complicated and messy, and the writing style is reminiscent of Faulkner (i.e. confusing), but I love me some southern women and this book has some good ones.
Jan 17, 2011 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
I read this one a long time ago and loved it. I can't count it for this year's reading, but others might enjoy it too.
Kathryn rated it liked it
Mar 28, 2014
Robin rated it it was amazing
Nov 24, 2011
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Dec 19, 2008
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Apr 16, 2013
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Stephanie Kepke rated it it was amazing
Nov 09, 2014
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Oct 01, 2011
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Phillis Scott rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2016
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Dec 18, 2015
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Five of Jill McCorkle's seven previous books have been named New York Times Notables. Winner of the New England Booksellers Award, the Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature, she has taught writing at the University of North Carolina, Bennington College, Tufts University, and Harvard. She lives near Boston with her husband, their two children, ...more
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