Jessie's Reviews > The Member of the Wedding

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
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Mar 21, 11

bookshelves: fiction

McCullers makes writing fiction contagious; I finished her book fueled to launch back into the story I’m working on, which is completely unrelated to her work in theme, though not in region. Can’t believe I’ve only just met Carson McCullers!

The lazy summer kitchen meals shared by Frankie (F. Jasmine rather), John Henry & Berenice are my favorite moments in this book. “It was the hour when the shapes in the kitchen darkened and voices bloomed.” (563) I can feel the lull, smell the food cooling as they keep nibbling at it, hear and feel the twilight sounds through the screen door – and the piano tuning that’s happening next door. McCullers’ sense for dialog is magical.

How odd the ending is. It felt right, but the whole book is so immersed in every emotional twist and turn of the self-absorption of 12-yr-old Frankie, and then (wham!) meningitis and an arrest, sweeping events that occur over just a few pages; they are eclipsed by the looming-large of adolescence, by the immediate thrill of the popular girl who has chosen YOU to be her friend.

The last-page Frankie reminds me of the last-page Del in Munro’s LIVES AND WOMEN – Del says something like, I meant to say thank you but I said yes; what an ending; she is entitled, precocious, self-absorbed, entirely herself; she is so inside of the reader by that time—she peers into the reader’s self. And Frankie reaches that same moment – it’s not that she’s not beloved, but she’s not beloved in the removed, sweet way of a child; maybe she becomes beloved because I need to love and understand that part of myself that I see in her.
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