Kimberly's Reviews > The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn
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Apr 21, 2011

it was amazing
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Read from April 21 to 26, 2011 — I own a copy

Not knowing anything about Emily Dickinson, not having ever read her poetry, I went into this book blind as to what to expect, but was immediately enthralled with her mind and her diction. Charyn does take liberties, he admits, in creating some characters, but they are so believable and in tune with the rest that I found myself forgetting who was real and who was imaginary. Emily's imagination is captivating and comforting, being a girl who had so many fantasy stories running through my head as a girl and still has so much going on internally I often wonder which was the dream.

Charyn does not present Emily as a crazy recluse but as an introverted intellect both protected and ignored by her father. His Emily's poetry comes to her in flashes, or "lightning" she says, and not as something that she works at or ponders. Hence, the story does not revolve around her poetry but the poetry flows through her story.

I liken this story to the other "greats" of her time, the Bronte sisters and Louisa May Alcott in style and plot, although I found Charyn's interpretation easier to follow.
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04/21/2011 page 48
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