Rob Warner's Reviews > The Yearling

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
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Oct 21, 11

Read in October, 2011

A Civil War-era coming of age novel that's a spiritual cousin to Where the Red Fern Grows, but with a broader story and a deeper dive into life's challenges. Reading this book reminds you how deeply people understood the consequences of choice, as sloth translated brutally into starvation. Indeed, the need to work for one's supper every day, planning for both the moment and the future, contrasts starkly with our present-day welfare state that, for some, rewards indolence.

One other thing that jumps out from this tale is that the family, though living without TV, smartphones, cars, running water, or any of the other niceties we demand as a baseline for happiness, are just as happy as we are. They find plenty of joys, despite their hardships, and in the process sober us and our propensity to storm about under-whipped lattes and 404s. The tasks they faced daily would cave many of us, yet they take them in stride and relish in their accomplishments.

The protagonist, Jody, lets us into his thoughts and the conundrums he must un-puzzle as he becomes a man. The dialect, though distracting at times, helps form the context of the life he leads.
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