I love how this book portrays an empowered woman who achieves success as a singer though her talent, work ethnic, and independence. This type3.5 stars
I love how this book portrays an empowered woman who achieves success as a singer though her talent, work ethnic, and independence. This type of coming-of-age story often only occurs with boys and men. Cather, however, follows her protagonist Thea throughout her childhood in eastern Colorado all the way up to her rising fame as an artist in New York. Thea defies the expectations placed on women to act docile and domestic; she prioritizes herself and her ambitions and thus has a happy ending. While some may accuse Thea of selfishness or ungratefulness, I would ask these readers: why do we not penalize men as much when they leave behind their loved ones for their work?
I enjoyed dissecting so many themes in The Song of the Lark: the trappings of heteronormativity, the price we so often pay to succeed as artists, and how to integrate autonomy with the gift of amazing mentorship. While the writing style of the book sometimes bored me, Thea's ascent made the whole experience worth it. Recommended if you want a book about a girl who grows into a woman after overcoming challenges and displaying a courageous faith in herself....more
An eclectic essay collection that touches on topics ranging from friendship to homelessness to the environment. Sarah Gerard's strongest essays, suchAn eclectic essay collection that touches on topics ranging from friendship to homelessness to the environment. Sarah Gerard's strongest essays, such as "BFF" and "Rabbit", explore intimate emotions like loss and jealousy with vulnerability and detail. Some of her pieces that looked outward did not resonate with me as much, because even though they explored important topics, I could not hear Gerard's voice over the inundation of facts and interviews. Overall, a good combination of unique pieces that could have been pulled together more tightly with a greater unifying theme or voice. Excited to see how Gerard's writing develops in the future....more
An intense novel about race relations, familial ties that transcend generations, and the ways in which capitalism and race interact to deaden3.5 stars
An intense novel about race relations, familial ties that transcend generations, and the ways in which capitalism and race interact to deaden our souls. This epic romantic saga spans several years and many characters. Amidst all of this, Pauline Hopkins shows how the contending forces that created slavery still exist and harm black people. I appreciated Hopkins's emphasis on the past repeating itself. With Trump's recent victory, we cannot pretend that racism, sexism, greed, etc. have disappeared when those powers put him into office. One quote I found meaningful that articulates this idea:
"Mob-law is nothing new. Southern sentiment has not been changed; the old ideas close in analogy to the spirit of the buccaneers, who formed in many instances the first settlers of the Southland, still prevail, and break forth clothed in new forms to force the whole republic to an acceptance of its principles... the atrocity of the acts committed one hundred years ago are duplicated today, when slavery is supposed to no longer exist."
Other aspects of this novel I enjoyed: the presence of an empowering friendship between two women, Hopkins's fast-paced and riveting plot, and the overall astute critique of capitalism. I did not love how the book conformed to romantic standards (e.g., the large amount of marriages annoyed me) and sometimes the plot moved in a confusing, jarring way across space and time. Still, reading and discussing this book in a college class on feminism did make me more aware of the cruelty that arises when you blindly ascribe to systemic forms of oppression, in particular racism and the dark side of capitalism....more
This short story sequence bored me out of my mind. Other reviewers state that this book appeals to an older, more experienced audience, though I hopeThis short story sequence bored me out of my mind. Other reviewers state that this book appeals to an older, more experienced audience, though I hope I do not have to reread this in my old age. Sarah Orne Jewett's acclaimed novel follows a young writer who spends a summer in Dunnet Landing, Maine. There, she befriends various townsfolk and notices the decline of the Coastal New England town itself.
While perhaps there is something to be said about how Jewett eschews typical plot constructions in The Country of the Pointed Firs, I could not find anything exciting or rewarding about this book. Jewett includes some meaningful observations about friendship and time passing, but I have come across these same sentiments in works of overall higher quality. Maybe those who come from a small town or are interested in the history of New England would like this one more than I did....more