The Member of the Wedding
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The Member of the Wedding

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  7,495 ratings  ·  573 reviews
Here is the story of the inimitable twelve-year-old Frankie, who is utterly, hopelessly bored with life until she hears about her older brother’s wedding. Bolstered by lively conversations with her house servant, Berenice, and her six-year-old male cousin — not to mention her own unbridled imagination — Frankie takes on an overly active role in the wedding, hoping even to...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 26th 2001 by Penguin (first published 1946)
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Mariel
Jan 03, 2011 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Return to Send Her
Recommended to Mariel by: Loyd, I'm ready to be heartbroken
Carson McCuller's The Member of the Wedding is my unrequited love story in my stable of hos: those lyrically intimate classical works I've read that stayed with me because they were confiders of sorts, someones I could go to and find some sort of explanation inside, a relating that was more than good enough of itself. (And I get my belt when they don't put out for me.) (I don't wanna say cathartic because this book isn't like that. It's often uncomfortably painful in the don't-wanna-be-reminded-...more
Susan
Enjoyed:
--WWII time period
--Berenice, the black housekeeper who is a storyteller and surrogate mother to the adolescent protagonist
--Descriptions of Southern food (eaten in kitchen, where much of the action transpires)
--The threesome of the adult female black housekeeper, the adolescent girl, and the six-year-old boy cousin, as a group
--brevity of book

Warmed up to:
--Slow pace of book, which was more difficult in the early part of the book
--Southern milieu (which can be good or bad -- depends on...more
Chrissie
Yes, a gem! Why I found it amazing and thus worth five stars is explained below in the partial review.

I will only add here a bit about the book's setting: Georgia, 1944-45. You see the world through the eyes of 12 year old Frankie, or F. Jasmine Addams. SHE, not I, will explain to you why she appropriated this name. Not only do you see the emotional turmoil of a preteen but you also get the racial tensions in the South and the tension created by the War. We know it is 1944 from the simple line t...more
Melody
Carson McCullers was an author who used her writing to search for God and to explore her own questions about sexual identity. In The Member of the Wedding her main character, who is called Frankie, turns 12 and begins to try to figure out how she is going to navigate her way around this big old lonely world. Will she do it with a “crew-cut”, wearing a Mexican hat and with “rusty elbows”, or will she seek adventure in exotic places with “Esquimaux” by train in silver slippers with her hair in cur...more
Melanie


Sad Cafe, Golden Eye, Lonely Hunter - it is bold to say it, but this, could well be my favourite of all.

Twelve year old Frankie is Lonely Hunters Mick Kelly at a fever pitch. She's like a tornado of pain, trying to tear her young self out.

What makes this novel brilliant though: Frankie, Berenice and John Henry in that dingy kitchen, talking large over hoppingjohn, corn bread and ham from the knuckle. Rolling eternal thoughts among them like dice and landing on crazy. You have to read it to se...more
Rebecca
Such a vivid, cruel when necessary, and yet unhysterical account of a 12 & 5/6th year old girl. She's filled with intense emotions that she doesn't have names for, eagerness, desperation. This is a book that describes how it feels to be this person--how it feels to be a smart girl somewhere in the mush between kid and adult, engaging in adult ideas but with a child's facility. McCullers is brave, she doesn't shy away from the horror of being alive, and yet never loses her warmth.
Allie Whiteley
Frankie Addams is 12 and feels like she doesn't fit in. Physically she may have a point - tall for her age she towers above her peers and this compounds the natural anxiety of adolescence. She never knew her mother, her best friend has moved away - even her precious cat has gone missing. And now her brother is to be married and she is jealous.

The Member of the Wedding concerns Frankie's feelings about this impending wedding and how she deals with it when it does, in fact, go ahead. We learn abo...more
Diane
I was drawn to this story of 12-year-old Frankie, who is restless and fearful and jealous of anyone who is happy, because she is such a jumble of adolescent angst.

"This was the summer when Frankie was sick and tired of being Frankie. She hated herself, and had become a loafer and a big no-good who hung around the summer kitchen ... The war and the world were too fast and big and strange. To think about the world for very long made her afraid. She was not afraid of Germans or bombs or Japanese....more
Dominic
The Member of the Wedding continues in the tradition of Carson McCullers' breakthrough novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, a book that I can't seem to shake out of my system (and love more every time I think about it). In this short novel, Frankie/F. Jasmine/Frances is another McCullers misfit, this time a pre-adolescent girl whose dreams are too big for her small town and her small world.

While the plot isn't extraordinarily complex (basically it's the story of one lazy summer when Frankie drea...more
Maralise
A fantastic explication of what 'crazy' feels like. McCullers nails loneliness. Again.

For me, even more than in 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,' the characters reveal their skeletons in a way that doesn't separate you from their pain, but instead forces you to stare in gawky horror at the similarities between yourself and them.

And yet, McCullers also manages to allow the reader to hope, to think of the future, to imagine a world where wounds are healed and scars start to scab over and fade away....more
Cecily
Lonely motherless tomboy confronting sudden adolescence, prompted by her older brother's wedding. Some similarities with "To Kill a Mocking Bird" (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...) - in terms of character, situation, location etc. Very evocative re hot Southern summer etc.

McCullers has a very consistent voice, and yet somehow her books are distinct from each other. In particular, lyrical and more literal musical aspects to much of her writing (reflecting the fact she very nearly became a...more
Terry
I was mesmerized by this book. I listened to it during dog walks and a drive to a family reunion. I was worried I wouldn't be able to really grasp the language and syntax (things I'm crazy about). Let alone the story. But Susan Sarandon read it to me, and I loved every dripping moment, and there were many moments I listened to again and again. I don't even know where to begin to say what I admire about this book. It's brilliant. Knocked my socks off. McCullers captures life in a small southern t...more
Jim Hale
The Library of America collected edition calls this one her masterpiece and I think I agree. The dialog is masterful, some of the best there is. Many times McCullers amazed me, as at least one-third of the book takes place at the breakfast table, with only three characters. She never loses the momentum and the conversations never tire. No wonder this story enjoyed a long run on Broadway.

As a Southerner raised in a blue collar environment, I'm sensitive to the way "Southern" authors portray uned...more
Patrick
I borrowed this from the library after I recently read ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ with pretty much no expectations and adored it. But I think this book is even better for its brevity and its superb control of its form. The author was a little more experienced this time around, and despite its relatively short length and limited cast of characters, this book exhibits a remarkable range of different tones and ideas. It’s clearly recognisable as a product of the same imagination which created ‘...more
Dagný
I love this book. I stumble over my superlatives as I write and delete a series of them. Makes me missionary: read this book!
Thing Two
May 29, 2011 Thing Two rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thing Two by: Susan Roby
Shelves: state-georgia
An achingly sad coming-of-age story about 12-year-old F. Jasmine Addams who just wants to belong. Her mother died when she was born, her best friend has moved away, and now her brother is getting married and moving, too. Her only friend in the world is her six-year-old cousin John Henry. She convinces herself that being a member of the wedding means her brother and new sister-in-law will take her away. She feels caught in her dull life and yearns to escape.

Midway through this short book, her ho...more
Suzanne
An extraordinary well-written book chronicling the internal turmoil of a Southern 12 year old girl on the verge of womanhood. Frankie is the main character and is the only child of a hard-working but emotionally remote father in 1940's rural Georgia. Motherless (her mother died in childbirth) Frankie faces the turbulent changes in her feelings alone, her only companion being her 6 year old cousin John Henry and her caring housekeeper, a one-eyed black woman name Bereneice.
"A Member of the Wedd...more
Ceecee
Jan 05, 2013 Ceecee rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like well-written novels and don't mind getting depressed
Recommended to Ceecee by: McCullers's amazing writing
Shelves: 2-star, amazing-prose
I know I should at least give this 3 stars, or 4 stars. The prose was amazing as ever. But it was such a letdown, and I'm not feeling generous at the moment.

This is the story of Frankie Addams, a 12 year old girl at the end of the summer, about to attend her brother's wedding. I don't know about you, but I feel like Frankie was me when I was 12 years old. I was questioning my place in the world.
"She was afraid of these things that made her suddenly wonder who she was, and what she was going to
...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘I wish I was somebody else except me.’

It’s August 1944, and Frankie (Frances) Addams is a twelve-year-old girl living in the American south. Frankie is frustrated and bored, she feels like she no longer belongs. ‘This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member.’ Frankie’s best friend, Evelyn Owen, left town before summer began, and most of the other girls are already thirteen and won’t allow her to be a member of their club. The novel opens in the kitchen of Frankie’s home, w...more
matt


It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around in doorways, and she was afraid. In June the trees were a bright dizzy green, but later the leaves darkened, and the town turned black and shrunken under the glare of the sun. At first Frankie walked around doing one thing and another. T...more
Rob
I was hesitant to read this book even though I loved the author's other book--Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and had one of my best teaching experiences with it. But N.P.R. reviewed Member of the Wedding--this past summer. So fortunately I gave it a try. This slim book is marvelous, lyrical, and full of imaginative depth. Yes, it is a young girl's coming of age story, but it still appealed to me a middle-aged male. I couldn't put this book down. Think of an adolescent Scout Finch... Think of a book e...more
Krenner1
Thanks to my daughter, I didn't miss this classic written in the 40s. A short, Southern Gothic novel about a young girl who fantasizes about her future and release from a small town. But even the most benign scenes have a sense of tragedy and unease--a trademark of this author. I enjoyed some wonderful writing, though.

"So Bernice was started, and her voice went on and on. And when she had begun this way, on a long and serious subject, the words flowed one into the other and her voice began to si...more
Aidan Watson-Morris
very 'plotty', but most of the action takes place w/characters just sitting around in the kitchen talking to each other. my first mccullers, & i totally dug it.
Maeva Considine
I've read this too many times to count, but I always try to make it a spring fling. McCullers can make a deck of cards into something so magical, you have to wake your mother up in the middle of the night to read her a passage. I'll stop there because the breathless, fan-girling will become overwhelming.
Stacy Pershall
I just finished this book last night, after rationing it out for the last two months. It was such a lesson to me about how good writing can come from nothing more than the everyday world around you. The plot: Frankie, a 12-year-old girl in small town, hovers miserably between childhood and adulthood during a long, hot summer. She spends her days languishing in the kitchen with her cousin and the maid, because the older girls who used to play with her have outgrown her. Her older brother, who's b...more
Ian
My father had a large collection of Penguin paperbacks which he had ordered direct from the publisher back in the mid 1960s. I'd always fancied reading a number of them, but always had far too many books of my own to read. I still have far too many books of my own to read, but my mother didn't see any point in hanging onto my Dad's Penguin's any more, so I picked out the ones I wanted and have been bringing them home in installments. I knew nothing of McCullers, only that she was female and cons...more
Emma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra
This coming of age story was dark, funny, sad, a really great read. McCullers takes her time to tell the story of Frankie, a twelve year old girl who knows how to handle a pistol and throw knives. She's pissed off, but she doesn't know why. She becomes obsessed with her brother's wedding, and tells everyone that she is not coming back to town after the wedding, that she plans on leaving with the couple to their honeymoon.

The novella is told in three parts, the longest of which is one day. Much...more
Cris
In Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding (1946), Frankie Addams, a 12-year-old girl who could be the literary sister of Mick Kelly from McCullers’ earlier novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, finds herself bored and lonely one summer, dying to leave town. Then, a family wedding arises, giving Frankie something to love and new perspective about the old and familiar. Nevertheless, Frankie, despite even re-dubbing herself "F. Jasmine Addams," still hovers between realms of adulthood and child...more
Jen
Let me just say up-front that I read McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter when I was in 10th grade, for English class with the best English teacher I had ever, including in college. And I loved it. With all of my heart. I've read that book over and over, and I even wrote a curriculum unit on it when I was in college for secondary education. Interestingly, I haven't read that many of her other books. I got The Member of the Wedding for free off of BookMooch, and I decided to do this crazy Fill...more
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  • The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers
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Carson McCullers (February 19, 1917 – September 29, 1967) was an American writer. She wrote fiction, often described as Southern Gothic, that explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts of the South.

From 1935 to 1937 she divided her time, as her studies and health dictated, between Columbus and New York and in September 1937 she married an ex-soldier and aspiring writer, Reeves McCul...more
More about Carson McCullers...
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories Reflections in a Golden Eye Collected Stories Clock without Hands

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“The trouble with me is that for a long time I have just been an I person. All people belong to a We except me. Not to belong to a We makes you too lonesome.” 67 likes
“She was afraid of these things that made her suddenly wonder who she was, and what she was going to be in the world, and why she was standing at that minute, seeing a light, or listening, or staring up into the sky: alone.” 39 likes
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