Jacob's Reviews > Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 09, 12

bookshelves: fiction-and-literature, west-and-wharton, 2012
Read from August 06 to 08, 2012

August 2012

(view spoiler)

Good news, everyone!

Or rather, good news, everyone who had to read Ethan Frome in high school or college and developed a fanatical hatred of Edith Wharton and all her works: The book isn't that bad. Sure, it's somewhat bleak and depressing, but it's much more bearable to read when you don't have to worry about Themes and Metaphors and All The Other Shit English teachers use to butcher books and make us hate reading. Also! Edith Wharton is a pretty awesome writer--I mean, I've only read her Old New York novellas so far, but I'm already kicking myself for letting Mrs. W. convince me that Wharton was A Horrible Writer and that I Should Never, Ever Read Her Books Again. Don't make the same mistake I did. Don't spend the next 7-8 years of your life not reading Edith Wharton! Put aside that copy of Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections and pick up one of these fine books instead. You probably won't regret it!
21 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Ethan Frome.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-33 of 33) (33 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell ....ohboy.

message 2: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn I had to read this in college.....Good luck with this one...lol :)

Jacob I just finished it last night, and it wasn't that bad. At least, without Mrs. W. around to butcher it, I won't spend the next 7-8 years refusing to read Edith Wharton because of a bad impression formed on a single badly-taught book!

Although I'm not sure I'm ready to give Hawthorne another try yet...

message 4: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell It's not BAD, no, it's just horribly and thoroughly depressing. Ugh.

I won't spend the next 7-8 years refusing to read Edith Wharton because of a bad impression formed on a single badly-taught book!


Although I'm not sure I'm ready to give Hawthorne another try yet...

Heh heh, Hawthorne. I kinda love the Scarlet Letter, I mean I grew up rereading it and Seven Gables so they're just sort of this mental furniture. But Lord was he a total dick about most women. Especially Margaret Fuller. Hawthorne is just sorta....dark and grim and unsettling. Gothic, I guess people would call it, except.....there's just something oddly squicky about him.

Jacob Yeah, we had to read Seven Gables. SEVEN. SEVEN GABLES. This is SIGNIFICANT.

Fortunately, I've blocked most of AP English from my memory (except for my dramatic recitation of Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" at the end of the year), so I can probably pick up Hawthorne without experiencing horrible flashbacks.

message 6: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Jacob wrote: "(except for my dramatic recitation of Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" at the end of the year),"

Hah, that sounds awesome!

I encountered Hawthorne on my own first before junior high and then didn't go to high school, so I escaped that one. I did first read 1984 and The Lottery in jr high, tho, so I'm grateful for that.

Jason oh my god i love this book! how did I miss you reading this? my stalking has been laaaax.

i want to read this again!

Jacob You'd better get back to stalking, Jason--I'm about to start Mrs Dalloway!

Jason Jacob wrote: "I'm about to start Mrs Dalloway!"


message 10: by Jacob (last edited Aug 09, 2012 03:22PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jacob Elizabeth wrote: "Um, Jacob, you know, SPOILER!!! Just thought I'd mention it."

It hardly feels spoiler-worthy (who doesn't know about the sled?), but I guess it doesn't hurt to be courteous.

What did you really think of the book?

I liked it. Not as much as the Old New York novellas, and it probably won't rate well compared to House of Mirth/Custom of the Country/Age of Innocence, but it's much better than that one disastrous AP English reading made it out to be. I suppose I should add something favorable to the review, to clear things up...

Jason See, sometimes ratings are important—like for example when the review is ambiguous.

Jacob Yeah, you're probably right about that.

The More You Know

Jason Wait, this book is somewhat bleak and depressing? You are King of Understatement, my friend. And stop pissing on Jonathan Franzen. His feelings are delicate.

karen pfff, i've read sadder.

Jason Ha!

karen seriously - most of the stuff that actually happens ion the book is not sad. there's that one thing. the sad stuff is the unwritten stuff.

jude would have loved to have had this plotline

message 17: by Jacob J. (new)

Jacob J. I feel left out that I was never subjected to it, er, introduced to it in school. I suppose the quintessential example for me was Things Fall Apart. I have a penchant for bleakness, so I should get to her soon, But it should be said that I like Franzen a lot too. Is this like a Team Edward/Jacob type-situation or should I go into her work with Franzen's article in mind, for good or bad?

Jason Ignore the article. Read the book.

Jason Also, there are two many Jacobs in this thread. One of you will need to change his name.

Jacob Worse yet, he's Jacob J., I'm J. Jacob. Lots of potential for wacky mix-ups there.

Jason Then you both need to change your names.

karen then can i be jacob?

Jacob You be Jacob, I'll be Jason, other Jacob can be Karen. Dunno who Old Jason gets to be though.

Jason karen you are being difficult.

message 25: by Jacob J. (new)

Jacob J. I get be be Karen? What an honor!

karen me-karen, or he-karen?

you cannot be Karen, you have to be karen

message 27: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell karen wrote: "pfff, i've read sadder."

....true, she's the big Hardy fan in the room.

message 28: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell karen wrote: "me-karen, or he-karen?
you cannot be Karen, you have to be karen"

I think there would be a conglomerate called we-karen.

message 29: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Think how many books we-karen could read.

karen oh, let's do it! i need to read more - shit is piling up

message 31: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill just finished The Glimpses of the Moon...my first Edith Wharton book, and it was excellent. I'm on to Ethan Frome next.

Jacob Check out Old New York, too. Just read that for a third time--the novella "False Dawn" is one of my favorites. I've only read her short work so far, though, so it's time to move on to her novels. I'll probably get to Age of Innocence later this month.

message 33: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill yeah, I'll definitely read that as well. some of her so-called novels are really short...Ethan Frome is barely over 100 pages.

back to top