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The Member of the Wedding

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  15,042 ratings  ·  1,247 reviews
An alternate-cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.

The novel that became an award-winning play and a major motion picture and that has charmed generations of readers, Carson McCullers's classic The Member of the Wedding is now available in small-format trade paperback for the first time. Here is the story of the inimitable twelve-year-old Frankie, who is utterly, h
Paperback, 163 pages
Published August 13th 2004 by Mariner Books (first published 1946)
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Olivia Colville
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  15,042 ratings  ·  1,247 reviews

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Totally new review, after a 2020 reread:

Remember the oppressive boredom of a long and sultry teenage summer?
Feeling vaguely fearful and fiercely moody, at the precipice of childhood’s end.
Wanting to be alone, grown, and babied too.
Unsure whether to belong or be different.
Everything in flux, including your very sense of self.

This short novel will take you back to that time.

This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member…
It was the summer of fear for Frankie...
The summer when
As my reading tastes expand, I attempt to read books by women authors from across the globe, both contemporary and classic. My reading journey until now had never included the work of Carson McCullers, even though my mother has been urging me to read her books for years. When a few friends from the reading for pleasure group said that they were doing a buddy read of McCullers' Member of a Wedding, I was pushed to join them. While not as highly regarded as her definitive work The Heart is a Lonel ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook....narrated by Susan Sarandon

Listening to Susan Sarandon was as delicious a cuppa warm hot cocoa with baby marshmallows—her voice was comforting -soothing & cozy.

“The Heart is The Lonely Hunter” is one of my favorite books and movie”.....
It was wonderful to enjoy Carson McCullers writing again.

This is a beautiful and sad story told through the eyes of a 12 year old girl - who doesn’t feel as if she fits right in her own skin. She wishes to belong to a couple after their wedding. Frank
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, recs
Searing and sad, The Member of the Wedding is a deceptively simple coming-of-age tale set in the South during the midst of WWII. Frankie’s a twelve-year-old white tomboy on the cusp of thirteen who wants nothing more than to run away from her distant father and live with her soon-to-be-married brother and his partner. Motherless and excluded from other girls’ activities, she spends almost all her summer inside her home’s kitchen conversing with her six-year-old cousin John Henry and her family’s ...more
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Return to Send Her
Recommended to Mariel by: Loyd, I'm ready to be heartbroken
Carson McCuller's The Member of the Wedding is my unrequited love story in my stable of hos: those lyrically intimate classical works I've read that stayed with me because they were confiders of sorts, someones I could go to and find some sort of explanation inside, a relating that was more than good enough of itself. (And I get my belt when they don't put out for me.) (I don't wanna say cathartic because this book isn't like that. It's often uncomfortably painful in the don't-wanna-be-reminded- ...more
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, fiction
She was afraid of these things that made her suddenly wonder who she was, and what she was going to be in the world, and why she was standing at that minute, seeing a light, or listening, or staring up into the sky: alone.

I read a lot about loneliness. Overwhelmingly, the books that I gravitate towards seem to have at least some thread of loneliness. But this...this didn't just deal with loneliness, this was trying to explain absolute aloneness. That completely exposed and silent and almost pani
Have you ever picked up a book you are certain you have read before and found that nothing feels familiar on reading it again. Of course the first time I read it was for a college course in 1967 so there may be a valid reason aside from lost brain cells...simple time or perhaps short cuts for class. But when I reached almost the very end of the book, one plot point did seem familiar and now my doubts about truly having read it are gone.

As for the book itself, Frankie/ F. Jasmine/ Frances is a wo
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 500gbw, bechdel-pass
Frankie is a white girl who lives in a small Southern town and dreams of Alaska. She is twelve years old and in the throes of unbelonging. Her father has told her she’s too old to sleep in his bed, her age mates have formed groups that don’t include her, and her only day-to-day company is her six-year old cousin John Henry and middle-aged Berenice who keeps house. Her much older brother visits home with his fiancee and then goes away again to complete the wedding preparations. Frankie, who will ...more
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019


Here’s the February House in Brooklyn, one of the great artistic flophouses, where for a while in the 1940s Carson McCullers crashed and crashed with WH Auden, Jane and Paul Bowles, Gypsy Rose Lee and, briefly, a chimpanzee. McCullers was an avid drunk, as was everyone else. One night they ran out into the street to chase a fire engine, as one does, and McCullers came back with the idea for this book. Which does not, by the way, have a fire engine in it, or a chimpanzee.

Instead it has a twelve-y
I'd imagine the word 'universal' gets thrown around a lot in regards to this work. The temptation of it is exactly why I am excising it from my vocabulary, for even the small amount of literature I've read in the culverts of unacknowledged canon were enough to show the lie of the word. I find an immense amount of resonance in this work, resonance structured on a foundation of tokenism, sentimentality, and other measures of self-willed isolation commonly shared with other white people works of 'u ...more
Yes, a gem! Why I found it amazing and thus worth five stars is explained below in the partial review.

I will only add here a bit about the book's setting: Georgia, 1944-45. You see the world through the eyes of 12 year old Frankie, or F. Jasmine Addams. SHE, not I, will explain to you why she appropriated this name. Not only do you see the emotional turmoil of a preteen but you also get the racial tensions in the South and the tension created by the War. We know it is 1944 from the simple line t
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this in my 7th grade English class, and I absolutely loved it. I think I’m due a re-read as an adult. ❤️
E. G.
Introduction, by Ali Smith

--The Member of the Wedding
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn to this story of 12-year-old Frankie, who is restless and fearful and jealous of anyone who is happy, because she is such a jumble of adolescent angst.

"This was the summer when Frankie was sick and tired of being Frankie. She hated herself, and had become a loafer and a big no-good who hung around the summer kitchen ... The war and the world were too fast and big and strange. To think about the world for very long made her afraid. She was not afraid of Germans or bombs or Japanese.
The pure magic that McCullers creates with the written word makes this worth 4 stars right off the get go. She gives us the character of Frankie or F. Jasmine who is so ready to leave 12 years behind and move forward that she is a bundle of nerves and dreams. She doesn't feel like she fits in her skin any more and is so anxious to shed it and find out who she is suppose to be. That terrible angst of adolescence, the feeling that you are suppose to be doing something else, while not quite sure y ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book right up until Part III, which is very short, a kind of addendum added onto the main story. And I thought - no: that is overkill - overkill being the apposite word. It's as if the talented Ms McCullers couldn't rest with the story just as it was - she had to make it into a rip-your-heart-out climatic ending. Maybe some people like that?

So, the delightful, superb, so beautiful middle section is quite simply the three main characters: Frankie, or F. Jasmine as she call
Barry Pierce
I've finally jumped feet first into the succulent literary world of Carson McCullers and I've found myself not drowning but floating lightly around observing the minuscule nuances of Southern life. The Member of the Wedding is a subtle but loud novel. It comes packaged with all the traits of Southern Gothic but it transcends and subverts the genre in such a way to dig itself out of its Faulknerian tragedy and into something that has been crafted by only the finest of word smiths. The narrator Fr ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great book!
The book was published in 1947 and I was worried that the story might be outdated.
But no, a really well written story, very disturbing, about young motherless girl (12 years old) brought up mostly by the black cook, Bernice. Her widowed father was also present but was fairly busy with his own job. The girl was fairly grown up for her age, had her own fantasies and wanted to belong somewhere else or even to run away from her home.
I recommend this book to all the people who have
Oct 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
--WWII time period
--Berenice, the black housekeeper who is a storyteller and surrogate mother to the adolescent protagonist
--Descriptions of Southern food (eaten in kitchen, where much of the action transpires)
--The threesome of the adult female black housekeeper, the adolescent girl, and the six-year-old boy cousin, as a group
--brevity of book

Warmed up to:
--Slow pace of book, which was more difficult in the early part of the book
--Southern milieu (which can be good or bad -- depends on
Connie G
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Frankie is feeling lonely, and isolated in this coming-of-age story: "It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around doorways, and she was afraid." Her mother died when Frankie was born, her father is distant, and her best friend moved away. Frankie wonders if she might turn into a f ...more
I enjoyed this book much more than The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter which I gave five stars to and this book, The Member of the Wedding I only gave four stars.

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love books that are set in this time period in the south, so that was a plus right out of the gate! The main character, Frankie, was, to me anyway, slightly touched in the head. Crazy, somewhat deranged. Goodread members described her as having “growing pains”. Either way, she definitely had issues!

I came across this passage about The Member of the Wedding in McCullers' collection of stories and writings, The Mortgaged Heart. She writes:
Consciouness of self is the first abstract problem that the human being solves. Indeed, it is this self-consciousness that removes us from lower animals. This primitive grasp of identity develops with constantly shifting emphasis through all our years. Perhaps maturity is simply the history of those mutations that reveal to the individual the relation betwe
“She was afraid of these things that made her suddenly wonder who she was, and what she was going to be in the world, and why she was standing at that minute, seeing a light, or listening, or staring up in to the sky; alone.”

When I was a little younger than the main character of this story, I had a recurring nightmare. In the dream I would wake up and find everyone in my family changed. Sometimes they were monsters or sometimes they were just someone else’s family. They didn’t know me and I didn
Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carson McCullers was an author who used her writing to search for God and to explore her own questions about sexual identity. In The Member of the Wedding her main character, who is called Frankie, turns 12 and begins to try to figure out how she is going to navigate her way around this big old lonely world. Will she do it with a “crew-cut”, wearing a Mexican hat and with “rusty elbows”, or will she seek adventure in exotic places with “Esquimaux” by train in silver slippers with her hair in cur ...more
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, top10

Sad Cafe, Golden Eye, Lonely Hunter - it is bold to say it, but this, could well be my favourite of all.

Twelve year old Frankie is Lonely Hunters Mick Kelly at a fever pitch. She's like a tornado of pain, trying to tear her young self out.

What makes this novel brilliant though: Frankie, Berenice and John Henry in that dingy kitchen, talking large over hoppingjohn, corn bread and ham from the knuckle. Rolling eternal thoughts among them like dice and landing on crazy. You have to read it to s
Ruth Turner
Aug 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: southern-lit

I'm really disappointed. I thought I'd love this, but I didn't even like it.

The story dragged, it was boring and it irritated me. I skimmed the last half just to get it over and done with.

I didn't like any of the characters, not even Berenice. I found Frankie obnoxious, and wanted nothing more than to box her ears.

Reading it was a chore!

Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a youngster, perhaps a few years younger than the 12 y/0 Frankie, the central character in "Member of the Wedding", I was asked to be the ring bearer in a cousin's wedding. I was terrified: would I drop the ring (but was I even carrying real ones?), would I stumble while walking down the aisle? And, worst of all, in the future would I have to do this also? And with a woman? I was terrified of being drafted, but that certainly seemed like a less frightful future at the time. And when it was al ...more
Diane Barnes
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Frankie Addams is one of those rare fictional characters who has entered my soul and wedged her way into a little corner where she will remain forever. The dialog in this small novel rings so true I can hear it still. It is no small feat to get inside the head of a 12 year old girl and let us feel the fear and confusion on the cusp of entering into the strange world of adulthood. We are also allowed into the head of Berenice, the black housekeeper who is Frankie's confidant and champion, and in ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A strange little book. Not really my cup of tea. Twelve year old girl desperately wanted to be grown up. Except when she doesn't.

Great cover by the way.

And my secondhand copy is stamped "Wormwood Scrubs Education Department", so I would like to believe that my copy has been read by Ian Brady, Pete Doherty and Keith Richards
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
On the surface, the plot of The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers seems fairly simple. It takes place over a period of three days in 1944 Georgia. Frankie, a gangly twelve-year old girl, is excited about her brother’s upcoming wedding and has convinced herself she will join her brother and his new bride on their honeymoon. We follow Frankie’s footsteps before, during, and after the wedding. The beauty of this novel does not lie in its plot. It lies in McCullers considerable skill in capt ...more
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Carson McCullers was an American who wrote fiction, often described as Southern Gothic, that explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts of the South.

From 1935 to 1937 she divided her time, as her studies and health dictated, between Columbus and New York and in September 1937 she married an ex-soldier and aspiring writer, Reeves McCullers. They began their married life in Charlotte,

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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
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“The trouble with me is that for a long time I have just been an I person. All people belong to a We except me. Not to belong to a We makes you too lonesome.” 110 likes
“She was afraid of these things that made her suddenly wonder who she was, and what she was going to be in the world, and why she was standing at that minute, seeing a light, or listening, or staring up into the sky: alone.” 79 likes
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