The time of this Pulitzer Prize winning story is toward the conclusion of the Civil War. Families are receiving notification about the death, injury oThe time of this Pulitzer Prize winning story is toward the conclusion of the Civil War. Families are receiving notification about the death, injury or capture of their loved ones.
Wully McLaughlin returns to his parents' farm after escaping from the Confederates where he had been taken prisoner. He thinks about the war and finding his brother's body after one battle. Some of this part of the novel reminds me of "The Red Badge of Courage."
While Wully is home, he visits the farm of Christie McNair. There is a small population in this part of Iowa and Christie is lonely. He and Christie form a relationship that makes Wully believe that after the war there would be a marriage.
Wully spends a brief time home and returns to his regiment. When the war ends, he returns home and goes to Christie's home. Christie is distant and won't look at him in the face. She makes it plain that she doesn't want to see him and this shocks him.
Not giving up, he returns to her farm secretly and sees her sitting on her porch, crying.
Unable to figure things out, he's on the road home and meets a cousin, Peter Keith. When he asks Peter if he knows why Christie is acting this way, Peter becomes aggrivated and finally admits that he had asked Christie to marry him when Wully was away. The manner that Peter used in saying this, let Wully know that Peter had taken advantage of Christie. There is a further argument and Peter leaves the vicinity.
The author follows with the steps Wully takes to convince Christie that this hasn't lessened his love and what Wully and his family will do so that the community doesn't scorn Christie for her pregnancy.
The novel offers a good description of the hardship of frontier life and what many settlers faced. There is a particularly well told segment where a woman of some wealth in Scotland marries an Iowa farmer who was a widower. When she emigrated to Iowa and sees her new husband's home, she realizes that she would be living in a place that was little better than a sty.
I enjoyed the story and the manner in which the author told the reader of life in the wintry Iowa area but feel that the story meandered a bit and was overly long. Overall, I recommend the book....more
Claude Wheeler is a Nebraska farm boy living in the time just before WWI. He is sensitive and isn't sure of what he wants in his life.
As the story begClaude Wheeler is a Nebraska farm boy living in the time just before WWI. He is sensitive and isn't sure of what he wants in his life.
As the story begins, Claude is living at the family farm. He is attending the college that his parents picked for him after the family was visited by a man his mother calls "Brother Whelan." Temple College in Nebraska is the school and Claude is sent to live with Weldon and Weldon's sister. Claud's rental payments will help the Weldon family maintain their financial stabilit.
Claude doesn't like the school and doesn't care for Weldon's clinging sister. He'd rather be going to the State University. When he finally persuades his parents to permit him to attend the State U. his view of the world widens. He also meets Julius Erlich and becomes friends with Julius' family. They seem to enjoy life and are able to talk of more meaningful things. Julius' mother becomes particularly fond of Claude and includes him in many family gatherings.
His father calls him home to work on the farm where Claude takes control. He's sensitive and shy but spends much time with Enid Royce, the daughter of the grain merchant. One day, Claude is injured and while at home recuperating, Enid visited daily. This eventually led to more feelings and the couple decided to marry.
When the war breaks out, the people around Claude don't know much about European history. As the war expands, Claude's father suggests that Claude call his friend, Ernest, A German immigrant, to see what the Bohemian papers are saying. When the German army invades Lousembourg, Claude wasn't sure where it was and if it was a city or a country.
The story is told in narrative style with a theme of America's innocence in world matters prior to the country's entry into the war. It details how this sensitive farm boy becomes a new army lieutenant, helping his men, as many of them become sick on the voyage to Europe.
The author has done a nice job describing a moment in history and how the mid-America's attitude toward war and worldwide matters changed.
This warm, family saga takes place in New York just prior to WWI.
Roger Gale is a 60 year old with three daughters. His wife, Judith, died and he doesnThis warm, family saga takes place in New York just prior to WWI.
Roger Gale is a 60 year old with three daughters. His wife, Judith, died and he doesn't see much meaning to life although he remembers his wife's words. "Out life goes on in the lives of our children."
Roger's eldest, Ethel, is expecting her 5th child, Deborah at age 29 is a school principal, and Laura is the youngest, and his favorite. Her zest for life amazes him. He says, "She even danced in restaurants."
One day, Laura surprises Roger, announcing she's getting married. It saddens him to think that his baby is leaving hime but he also feels that she hasn't given this step much thought.
Poole describes New York at this time of growth from the emergence of new high rises, to Roger's enjoyment of riding his horse through Central Park.
We can consider how the world has changed in the last 90 years when Laura's suitor, Harold, tells Roger that he can make Laura happy. He boasts. "Twenty two thousand this year ... we can live on that..."
Poole's writing is supurb. The story is well told and we follow the progress of the family. It is also enjoyable reading the descriptions of the carefree time prior to the war. The writer's phrases also are intelligent and memorable. When Roger is discussing Laura's wedding with Deborah, "Queer, how a man can neglect his children...when the thing he wants most in life is to see each one happy."
Laura's wedding comes and goes, Ethel and her attorney husband have their child. Roger and Deborah have the house to themselves, each wondering how lonely things will be without Lauran's energetic presence.
Roger wants to learn more of what Deborah does and visits her school. He meets Johnny Geer, an 18 year old with a crippeling ailment. Roger is impressed with Johnny's bravery and ambition and gives him a job and invites him to live at his home. Deborah becomes serious about Dr. Allain Baird and Roger asks Allain if anything can be done for Johnny. No, it's gone too far, Johnny may not have long to live and there is a time coming that people will have to guard their children even before they are born. (This seems like an early indication of the necessity of prenatal care.)
Roger continues to support Johnny, Laura returns from Europe, without revealing an important part of the plot, something happens to a member of the family.
When the war begins, Roger's business is hit hard, his children ask for more financial help but Roger finds that he is poor. Deborah has enough but gives much to support her poor students.
The last quarter of the novel becomes sintimental. Johnny has a business idea that turns things around. The boy with a crippeling disease becoming a successful businessman adds a Dickinsian aspect to the story.
Wonderful ending that leaves the reader fulfilled.
Alice Adams is a twenty two year old woman from a middle class family in the American midwest at the turn of the 20th cnetury.
She wants to shine in soAlice Adams is a twenty two year old woman from a middle class family in the American midwest at the turn of the 20th cnetury.
She wants to shine in society but her family doesn't have the financial means to provide her with the necessary props to compete with the woman she wants to impress. For the dance she is attending, she doesn't have a date so coerces her brother to take her, she doesn't have a dress that's in the latest fashion so her mother sews some lace on an old dress in attempt to modernize it, she also doesn't have the money for flowers from a florist so picks violets and by the time of the dance, they have withered and died.
The central theme of the novel is getting ahead in society, moving up both financially and socially.
Alice is reminiscent of another great heroine, Scarlett O'Hara from "Gone With The Wind." Both women strive to move up in society. They both want to capture the most eligible bachelor, even if that person is promised to another. Both women have father's who are past their time and live in a dream world.
Alice's father, Virgil, is a sympathetic character, seemingly content with his life but pushed to give up his passive existance and follow his wife's dreams of financial and social advancement, even at the betrayal of his former employer, an old and trusting friend....more
Martin Arrowsmith enters med school in the early nineteen hundreds in the American midwest.
The reader sees the difficulty in dealing with medical andMartin Arrowsmith enters med school in the early nineteen hundreds in the American midwest.
The reader sees the difficulty in dealing with medical and social issues. Martin goes through school with the ardor of a man pursuing his lifelong dream. When he takes a class in bacteriology, he can't imagine anything better than becoming a researcher.
Working hard, he needed a change of pace and goes to a city called Zenith where he meets Madeline Fox who is working on her grad school courses and seems to be searching for a husband. They eventually become engaged and she begins to attempt to change Martin's habits, clothing, and mannerisms to the man she would like him to be.
Later in his medical school career, he's sent to Zenith General Hospital where he meets a nursing student, Leora Tozer. They become fond of each other and have much in common and Martin becomes engaged to her. Now he's engaged to two women and not knowing what to do, he introduces them to each other. Madeline is condescending toward Leora and downgrades her background in coming from North Dakota. This sways Martin to Leora.
We follow Martini's life as he finishes med school, marries and moves to Leora's home town to set up family practice. It is interesting to see the small town community and ideas about alcohol consumption, gambling, pharmaceutical drugs and medicine in general. Martin tries to fit in with the community and Leora's meddling family but after a while moves to the city where he has more freedom.
His true love is in research and he finally takes a position there. During WWI he joins the military and works in research on areas that would effect military men. His devotion is interesting and seeing his determination makes us want him to succeed. Eventually he works with trying to find answers to bubonic plague.
Well written and a good description of American life in the midwest in the early nineteen hundreds.
Life for society women in the 1920s had its own constraints, the image of "family" was stronger than "self," and the idea of a woman's freedom had yetLife for society women in the 1920s had its own constraints, the image of "family" was stronger than "self," and the idea of a woman's freedom had yet to be born.
In "Early Autumn," the Pulitzer Prize winner of 1927, we have the story of a family, its place in the society of the times and the rigid rules for family members who were almost the aristocracy of New England.
The story opens with the celebration of Olivia Pentland's eighteen-year-old daughter, Sybil, who is being introduced into Boston society. Also being introduced is their neighbor and friend, Therese Callendar.
It is evident that Olivia is the strength of the family. She hasn't turned age forty and doesn't seem to have time for herself. Her husband spends his time working on charities or on the family genealogy. He lives on an income from his elderly father-who doesn't trust him to run the family business.
At a time without television, one means of entertainment for society women was to spend their time going to the houses of their friends, to be entertained and to learn the latest gossip. This is the case for Aunt Cassie (the family busy body) and Sabine Callendar. The women don't like each other and the author describes them as "...two cats watching each other for days at a time, stealthily."
Bromfield's wit is in evidence when we read of Aunt Cassie discussing joining her late husband in heaven. Sabine gives us her own thought that, based on the husband's life with his wife, the reunion might not be all that pleasant.
Olivia seems forced to live in a world filled with traditions but little love. She does see her daughter trying to escape from this family web and it seems to give her a small glimmer of hope.
She meets a man who brings the thrill of love and a new meaning to life. However, can a woman of society int he 1920s ask her husband for a divorce? What if he refuses?
This is an interesting story of a woman and a wealthy family in New England, at the time in history....more
King and Maxwell help a young boy who doesn't believe it when he's told that his father was killed in Afghanistan.
As the heroes try to help they are wKing and Maxwell help a young boy who doesn't believe it when he's told that his father was killed in Afghanistan.
As the heroes try to help they are warned off the case by MPs and a man from homeland security.
In another segment of the story, the boy's father is to have delivered a cargo containing one billion euros. He is stopped at gunpoint and the cargo taken from him then his superiors claim he stole it.
King and Maxwell show their intelligence and soon make headway in the case. We learn of the man who set up the scheme but not his name or motivation.
The story moves gradually and we learn more about the antagonist and his reasoning. Then the man tries to get to the boy's father through the boy and we have good suspense.
Baldacci shows his story telling ability and ability to keep the reader guessing as to what will come next....more