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In This Our Life

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  889 ratings  ·  50 reviews
This novel is an analytical study of the feeling of kinship as it is manifested in the Timberlake family, decayed aristocrats living in a southern city. The story of how two marriages are wrecked and a great wrong done to an innocent Negro boy, is told largely as it is viewed by Asa Timberlake, sixty years of age, husband of a hypochondriac wife, father of two daughters, o ...more
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published December 1st 1995 by Buccaneer Books (first published 1941)
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Muriel Schwenck I do not think there is anything significant beyond it's poignancy. It is a common flower with a sweet scent which it would be easy and attractive for…moreI do not think there is anything significant beyond it's poignancy. It is a common flower with a sweet scent which it would be easy and attractive for a little girl to pick. In other words,she had probably just picked a big bunch by herself to give her mother or take somewhere, making the accident all that more tragic.(less)

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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  889 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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I think the Pulitzer committee awarded this novel for two reasons:
First, I would guess they were impressed by the central tension in the novel which is the conflict between a person's obligations and his or her desire to be free. The book also looks at whether true freedom is even possible.
The other notable feature is a strong racial consciousness. It's the first Pulitzer I've read where racism is seen in a very negative light and the problems facing African American people are explored with a
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction
This novel written by Ellen Glasgow won the Pulitzer Prize in 1942.

Here the level of the city appeared to be sinking slowly, little by little, from a state of former affluence to the bare features of poverty. Houses were crumbling, fences were sagging, window-sashes were empty, weeds and crab-grass were sprouting among the sunken bricks and over the fallen steps. But if the background had dwindled away, the human elements had strengthened and multiplied. People swarmed everywhere.

This story/>Here
So glad to be finished with this bloated, ponderous, repetitive novel. It was like spending almost a week with your least favorite older relative who complains and lectures and never stops talking. More favorable reviews call Glasgow's Pulitzer winner "analytical", but it feels more like the author wallowing in self-indulgence.

Skip it and instead watch the 1942 film of the same title starring Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. Three cheers for Hollywood. It's truly a case of talent
A cast of bitter and self-serving characters, where taking what one wants is the norm.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
This novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1942. There was a movie based on it the same year with Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland as the two sisters and Charles Coburn as the grandfather. Unfortunately this is the sort of novel that gives Pulitzer Prize novels a bad name. Set in the South just prior to WWII, the novel features the romantic and existential dramas of two sisters named Stanley and Roy (those really are their names). Their father Asa is a sad sack, from decayed Southern gentility, who ...more
Anna Gabur
Apr 12, 2013 rated it liked it
This book had such a great plot and such great potential! The events happened unexpectedly and it could have been a real page-turner, if only it hadn't been for the terrible writing. The narrator, as well as every single character, were hysterical, neurotic, tedious and full of pathos. Everyone tried to philosophize and failed miserably (you too, Mrs. Glasgow!) The characters make you want to punch them, because they speak like this:
'Do you know what's wrong with us?' he demanded abruptly. In t/>'Do
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a Pulitzer Prize Winner for 1942. I suppose it shows the schism between the older generation following their duty and the younger generation searching for their own way to be happy. It doesn't have any really likeable characters. I almost stopped reading when the duty bound father, Asa, said he never had one happy moment in his life. Really? Not even one? That seems hard to believe.
I guess I developed my patience as I read about the two daughters, Stanley and Roy (why they had masculine
Martha Johnson
Apr 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This is apparently a bit of a classic and I had to order it from a Baltimore library from Annapolis. I found myself reading very quickly, skimming here and there, which tells me that the writing could have been tighter. We seemed to go over old ground repeatedly, but the novel is about Asa, a 60 year old man who is facing his life and hoping for some freedom. He's devoted to his family although his wife is ill and pretty sour; one daughter is selfish beyond belief and the other is only emerging ...more
Oh boy! I love the reviews. Just my sort of lemonade.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction
Good lord. This book was weak. I might say there's at least a semi-happy ending, but a really happy ending would have been if 75% of the characters died in the end. What a slog.
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
In This Our life was the Pulitzer for 1942 and is about an upper-class family in the Virginia, The Timberlakes. The father Asa and mother Lavinia have a emotionless marriages. Lavinia is a hypochondriac and spends most of the book in bed. They have two daughters with male names, Stanley and Roy. Roy is the oldest, sensible, her father's daughter and is married to Peter a surgeon. Stanley is a weak but pretty girl who has had everything done for her her entire life - given what she wants, protect ...more
Christine Sinclair
This novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1942, and although it is a bit dated, it's still a good read. The film that was based on it starred Olivia De Havilland as Roy and Bette Davis as Stanley (the younger, prettier one!). Why the daughters have boys names is never mentioned or explained. Hmmm. Good story with interesting characters, but a bit too much philosophizing for my taste. (I love the edition I bought on E-bay, a Franklin Library book bound in green leather with gilding on the cover and th ...more
Donna Jo Atwood
Mar 24, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1942. I read it as part of the 2009 Spring Challenge.
in This Our Life takes place at the end of the Depression (or the beginning of the reader's depression, brought on be reading it). The characters are hopeless, the situation is hopeless, the dialogue is hopeless. Let's put a black binding on it and call it quits.
I didn't like this book!

Read 15.5 Reading Challenge
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzers-read
Well, it got better in the third part. At least the story became a bit more interesting. But the writing was problematic and the editing of the version I read was atrocious. There was not a single character I liked. Not one. And I utterly loathed Stanley. Everyone in the novel was pathetic and unhappy. It was a depressing story.
Winner of the 1942 Pulitzer for Novel. The book starts out slow and finally gets interesting in the last 100 pages. The book has an ending that leaves you asking for a few more details. What ultimately happened to the characters?
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
May 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. However, there was something unsatisfying about the ending.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow won the Pulitzer Prize in 1942. The story is set just before WWII and chronicles the drama of a southern family. It was interesting that two of the female characters were named Roy and Stanley which are not typical female names. The family in this story continually hurts and lies to each other led by a domineering mother. The story was told well and I enjoyed this book, but many of the characters I did not like. I give this book 4 stars.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
This novel is an analytical study of the feeling of kinship as it is manifested in the Timberlake family, decayed aristocrats living in a southern city. The story of how two marriages are wrecked and a great wrong done to an innocent Negro boy, is told largely as it is viewed by Asa Timberlake, sixty years of age, husband of a hypochondriac wife, father of two daughters: one utterly selfish and feminine, the other courageous and gallant but confused and unhappy.
Above description is copies from
I vacillated between 3 and four stars. This novel consists mostly of the interior thoughts of the characters, although there is an arc to the plot. The characters ask a lot of internal questions - a device that grew old for me as nothing was ever answered. This novel is certainly depressing, and only a couple of the characters are likable. Stanley is a self-centered egoist who always gets the sympathy of her mother and uncle. Asa, the father, is the most sympathetic character, but is weak. The s ...more
Tracy Towley
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pulitzer
In This Our Life is one of the last Pulitzers I had left to read. It’s taken me this long because the book is out of print and there aren’t a ton of copies available. Really, this is not surprising given how utterly boring the book is.

There’s both a lot going on in the story and also not much of anything. I really just couldn’t muster two licks of giving a shit about these privileged, whiny characters. They did seem to be even more bored with their own lives than I was, which is sayi
Lynn Derks
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This Pulitzer Prize-winning book goes into the Thwarted Dreams category, along with other Pulitzer Prize-winning books such as EARLY AUTUMN and YEARS OF GRACE. It felt like a 1940s black and white movie much of the time: over-acted, too easily-resolved conflicts, glaringly obvious symbolism. All that said, I was hoping against hope for Asa Timberlake unto the very end...and equally wanting to slap Roy, Stanley and Lavinia.
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
The novel that won Glasgow the Pulitzer and her last novel, In This Our Life follows the plight of a family in which a young woman is willing to let a black chauffeur studying law in the novel take the blame for an accident in which she kills another person. It was made into a major motion picture starring Bette Davis. The conflict between the reckless sister and the responsible one takes up most of the plot in the novel, as one always wants what the other one has.
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The 1942 Pulitzer Prize novel, this book was yet another of the ones we have read that is decidedly deserving of the Prize. This was a tough read because the the emotions evoked - at times you both loved and hated the book. Some of the characters made you want to smack them - others filled you with empathy. Excellent, albeit somewhat painful read.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting view into the inner struggles people fight with their circumstances in life. It also investigates the generational differences between young and old as well as the chasm between the plight of blacks vs. whites in the south in the 1930's. The story holds relevance these many decades later.
John Guffey
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pulitzer-winners
" 'Nobody can save any one else.' God knows, she thought, I've learned that much."

The writing was really good in this book, but many of the characters felt stale. The plot was very slow paced, and it took me much too long to get through.
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Of all of the Pulitzer novels I've read thus far, this was to me a weaker selection. Filled with mostly unlikable characters, many of whom self-medicate, in addition to two females with male names that I had a horrible time keeping straight, it was a book that I found to not be very engaging.
Donna Mastroianni
Plot driven book that sermonizes here and there. Better at plot than philosophy. Do people really talk like that?
Dec 16, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer-project
I'm not sure I have ever hated a character the way I hated Stanley Timberlake.
Pulitzer winner from 1942.
Oct 29, 2013 rated it liked it
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Tackling the Puli...: In This Our Life (Ellen Glasgow, 1942) 11 32 Jul 04, 2019 05:40PM  

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aka Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow

Born into an upper-class Virginian family, Glasgow rebelled at an early age against traditional expectations of women, becoming a best-selling author of 20 novels, the last of which (In This Our Life) won a Pulitzer Prize in 1942.

The majority of her novels have Southern
“Human nature. I don’t like human nature, but I do like human beings.” 860 likes
“Why do all of us, every last one, have to go through hell to find out what we really want?’ The” 1 likes
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