Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and widely considered to be Edna Ferber's greatest achievement, "So Big" is a classic novel of turn-of-the-century Chicago. It is the unforgettable story of Selina Peake DeJong, a gambler's daughter, and her struggles to stay afloat and maintain her dignity and her sanity in the face of marriage, widowhood, and single parenthood. A brilliant l...more
for a boy named Dirk DeJong. The nickname becomes symbolic for a theme running throughout this story pointing to what's important in life.
Another way this theme is expressed is that there are two types of people in life:
"Emeralds and Wheat"
The biggest treasure in this story, yet there are others, is Dirk's mother, Selena De Jong, who moves to a Dutch-farming community near Chicago.
She becomes a widow after ...more
Dude. That is going to change.
I am going to start by recommending it to everyone I know (Andrew's mom is reading it next, then Andrew) and then I am going to recommend it to customers.
It's about Selina DeJong, a gambler's daughter-turned schoolteacher in a dutch village just outside of Chicago. It is definetely interesting to think that there was so much farmland in Selina's day, where now it's ...more
So Big was Edna Ferber’s Pulitzer Prize winning book from 1924. Despite the accolades I didn’t know what to think going into it. For one, I imagined the language would seem a little dainty and old-fashioned. For another, it was mostly set on a vegetable farm – not exactly promising. The first few pages scared me, to ...more
"So Big" is a great story about a young woman who grows up in various American cities, only to be disillusioned with what life "should be" after getting married to a poor Dutch farmer and toiling in the fields. But it's not just that: It's about believing that life is a grand adventure, "so much velvet." And then going out to find that, to be that person you ...more
But while So Big had degree of these qualities, it was also a really great read. The characters are developed well and after a slightly slow beginning, the action flows at a fast pace.
In addition, the novel does a wonderful job at describing Chicago in the early part of the 20th century along with ...more
This book is remarkably readable and current for being the Pulitzer Prize winner of 1924. Wonderful writing, full of beauty and insight, with a heroine who faces life with a tremendous amount of strength, integrity, and wisdom. Truly a gem of a book, definitely worth seeking out.
Note: I read this book in 2011 (April 12) and again in 2012 (May 16). The first time it was a resounding 5 stars for me. The second time I'd probably give it closer to 4. It was still a g ...more
Let me preempt the ...more
"There are only two kinds of people in the world that really count. One kind's wheat and the other kind's emeralds." – Edna Ferber
“So Big” is one of the most delightful books I have read this year. It won the Putlizer Prize for the Novel in 1925. The story was set in High Prairie, New Holland, ten miles outside Chicago, circa 1885, when bananas apparently were considered "a delicacy of delicacies to the farm palate". It traced the life of Selina Peake DeJong and her beloved son, Dirk DeJong. “So ...more
In the late 1800s Selina Peake leaves Chicago, where she grew up as a gambler's daughter, to take a teaching position in a outlying Dutch farming community. On the way from the train station to her new home she marvels at the beauty of the red and green cabbages in the fields, a moment that resonates throughout the novel.
Selina marries a farmer, has a son (Dirk), and then becomes a successful farmer and businesswoman in her own right. The reader wat ...more
So Big, written in 1924, was her first big hit, winning her a Pulitzer Prize. It's the story of Selina DeJong, daughter of a Chicago gambler, who was given the best of education when times were goo ...more
"I want you to see all kinds," he would say to her. "I want you to realize that
this whole thing is just a grand adventure...The more kinds of people you see,
and the more things you do, and the more things that happen to you, the richer
you are. Even if they're not pleasant things. That's living."
I've struggled to ...more
She is amazing.
Selina grows up alone with her father--a small t ...more
I just found on the internet that this novel, So Big, was inspired by the life of Antje Paarlberg, who lived in a Chicago suburb, a Dutch community of South Holland. Oh, to think there was a “real” Selina makes this story even more beautiful than it already is.
The name of this novel, So Big, is the nickname of Dirk DeJong given by his mother Selina Peake DeJong when he was very young. It was part of ...more
This book revolves around making choices-taking the easy route or working hard for what you want and believe in. As Selina's Da ...more
Also, there is lots of talk about farm culture, which is always a pl ...more
Wow! That was a good book!
More specifically: An amazing story of a growing America, of beauty and of the value of, well, valuing one's true self.
I think about th ...more
Ferber was born August 15, 1885, in ...more