John Singer, the deaf/mute. Biff Bannon, the cafe owner. Dr. Copeland, the Negro doctor. Jake Blount, a drifter. And Mick Kelly, a 14 year old girl whJohn Singer, the deaf/mute. Biff Bannon, the cafe owner. Dr. Copeland, the Negro doctor. Jake Blount, a drifter. And Mick Kelly, a 14 year old girl who hears beautiful music in her head and heart. These are our main players, each of them lonely and looking for someone to talk to, someone who will listen and maybe understand. They all talk incessantly to Mr. Singer, who can't hear them, and rarely understands. Mr. Singer can only talk with his hands, and then only to those who can understand sign language. So his only outlet is with another deaf/mute, his friend Spiros, who has been placed in an institution by his family.
Carson McCullers took these five people and wrote a story about the human need for love and acceptance that we all recognize and empathize with. She encompassed racial inequality, the class system in America, young people with dreams, older people who had seen their dreams turned to dust, hatred and kindness; it's all here, written by a 23 year old author who surely knew something of loneliness herself.
I have read this book twice before, once as a child, and again as a young adult. It was presented as the MOD choice on the group "On the Southern LiteI have read this book twice before, once as a child, and again as a young adult. It was presented as the MOD choice on the group "On the Southern Literary Trail" by Tom, so I took the opportunity to start the New Year with a Pulitzer Prize winning novel that I already knew would be a wonderful read. I had forgotten just how great it really was.
The setting is Florida in the 1870's, before concrete and condos and retirees and tourists. Before Disney World and Universal and Gatorland. This was a Florida of wild, lush beauty, wild game aplenty to supplement meager farming, but also bears and wolves and rattlesnakes, and violent storms. The Florida Crackers that Rawlings knew so well were proud, hard-working people that only asked for help from neighbors when there was no other choice, and gave help in turn when it was needed.
The description of this book would have you believe that it's the story of a young boy who adopts a fawn, and while this is true, the real story is the relationship between a boy and his father. It's about the struggle to become a man in a hard world, the difficulty of doing the right thing, or even knowing what the right thing is at times. As Penny tells his son Jody, "Boy, life goes back on you. Life knocks a man down and he gets up and it knocks him down agin. What's he to do then? What's he to do when he gits knocked down? Why, take it for his share and go on."
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings has written a book about the people she lived among and loved, the values they held dear, and the Florida scrub country that she described so beautifully. The dialect in the book is so real it reads like poetry. I found myself reading parts of it aloud just to hear it spoken.
Yes, this book is a classic in more ways than one. The nature writing is unsurpassed, the story is timeless, the characters will stay in your heart forever. We all need this book for the message. Stand up to life, do what needs to be done, but remember to remain a decent human being....more
I know I'm going to make a lot of John Hart fans unhappy with this review, but, I'm sorry, I just didn't like it. I went in with high hopes because ofI know I'm going to make a lot of John Hart fans unhappy with this review, but, I'm sorry, I just didn't like it. I went in with high hopes because of lot of friends with similar tastes thought it was wonderful. I was ready to be blown away, and I was, but not in a good way.
To be brief:
Pluses - 1. I did finish the book, because I wanted to know how it would end for the major characters. 2. I don't have to read another John Hart book.
Minuses - 1. I knew who the murderer was within the first 100 pages. 2. Way too many logistical inconsistencies. A character who dials 4 cell phone numbers while blasting down a highway at 115 mph does not ring true to me. 3. No real depth of character, too many stereotypes, messed up timelines....I could go on, but I won't.
In short, I felt the author sacrificed a lot by assuming his audience would rather have plot over substance.
To be fair, I'm not really a fan of this genre, so maybe that really is what people who do like thrillers want; a fast moving, action-filled plot to escape into for a few hours. I just couldn't make that jump, and as a result the whole book felt contrived and unbelievable.
I gave it a try, and learned a lesson, which is always a good thing. No more popular thrillers for me....more
I started "My Brilliant Friend", the first of the Neopolitan novels, as they have come to be known, almost 2 years ago, in February of 2015. It was aI started "My Brilliant Friend", the first of the Neopolitan novels, as they have come to be known, almost 2 years ago, in February of 2015. It was a year before I read the 2nd one, "The Story of a New Name". These books are intense and emotional and dense, so, for me, it is better to let a few months pass in between one book and the next. "Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay" was read this past summer, and I wanted to get this last one read before the year was out. What a way to end the year!
The magnitude of this undertaking by Elena Ferrante is incredible. Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo, their families, their lives, their love and hatred of each other, their poor, violent neighborhood in the city of Naples; all of this comes together in these 4 books like nothing else I've ever read. It is the kind of fiction that is more real than life, making me believe that these people really exist. Parts of this last novel were devastating events that I may not recover from, leaving scars on my psyche. As good as this story was, from start to finish, I'm not sure I can ever re-read these novels because of that intensity.
"Every intense relationship between human beings is full of traps, and if you want to endure, you have to learn to avoid them."
This series took me into the souls of Lila and Elena, and, like it or not, into the souls of all women everywhere. We may not be Italian, we may not scream and curse, we may not handle situations in the same way, but we all love/hate our partners, our children, our parents, and our friends. It's a function of being human.
The conclusion of the story of Elena and Lila was perfect and brilliant because it left us with more questions than answers, which is what life does, what good fiction does. I love these women. I love Elena Ferrante, whoever she is....more