Abby Farmer's Reviews > The Country of the Pointed Firs

The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
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's review
Feb 13, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: read-2012, audio-book, classics
Read from February 13 to March 05, 2012

"The Country of the Pointed Firs" is a gentle, wandering story. It's like a quiet walk in the woods or a trip in a row boat across an inlet.

An unnamed narrator describes her summer trip to the town of Dunnett Landing, Maine. She is staying at a guest house run by Mrs. Todd, a locally known apothecary / herbalist. The narrator explores the town. She meets some of the old sea captains, who talk about the days gone by - when ships came and went from the town harbor. The narrator and Mrs. Todd venture to Green Island to visit Mrs. Todd's mother and attend a family reunion.

The conversations that the narrator and the characters have, as well as the narrative, lead the reader to reflect upon the passing of time. An especially poignant section of the book is a visit with Elijah Tilly, a widower who thinks often of his late wife. We see the inside of his home - with the empty rocking chair, worn rugs and a broken tea cup hidden in the back of the cupboard.

The reader is invited to stop and enjoy - even savor - interactions with people that might otherwise be passed by. Things are changing in Dunnett Landing - the days of sea commerce have gone. Time moves forward. The narrator gives us an opportunity to see time frozen for a summer. The beauty of the narrative is in the details and the gentle descriptions of the denizens of a town. The story invites you to see the best in people, and hopefully notice the details that surround us today.

This book is meant to be enjoyed with a cup of tea while sitting outside, watching the clouds pass over on a summer day.
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