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The Little Minister

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  175 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
First published in 1891, J.M. Barrie's The Little Minister was quickly identified, along with Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, as one of the two great literary events of the year. Within the space of two years the book had sold in excess of 35,000 copies. Set in 'Thrums', the fictional name for the author's native Kirriemuir, the story follows the wistful love aff ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published June 6th 2008 by Kennedy & Boyd (first published January 1st 1891)
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I love this little book. It's so simple but extremely charming. The ending is suspenseful and action-packed, and even though the beginning is slower, it's worth it. The characters are fun to get to know, and by the end, I felt like I was another villager from Thrums who knew everybody and and everybody's business. Barrie's writing is engaging and fun. Peter Pan is one of my favorite books, and now so is this lovely book. The first-person narrator is flawed but admits his flaws and so seems perfe ...more
Mary Fleming
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Read this book years ago but couldnt remember how it worked out. Written in the doric, it looks difficult but ignore youll catch on and get the gist Some words I missed but it didnt matter, a marvellous love story. I couldnt put it down
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fic-historical
This is another book that I hadn't read even though it's been on the shelf for years. It took a week for me to plow through it, mainly because I found the vernacular so awkward. For example:

p 20: I dinna gang to the kirk to cry, 'Oh, Lord, gie, gie, gie.'
"Take tent o' yousel', my man," said Lang Tammas, ...

Nope, not a smooth read, but I ended up skimming over the longer passages instead of doing tedious 'translations.' While this style does contribute to the tone of the story, it didn't need to
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book was my favorite book for a while (before I read Tale of Two Cities). I don't know why I liked it so much, because it was a normal, old-fashioned romance, and I have probably read several dozen of those. But much of it was funny, and the story moved quickly but was deep enough to be enjoyable and not feel mindless. Revolving around a young Scottish minister who is sensitive about his height, or lack thereof, and around a mysterious gypsy girl who keeps stirring up trouble for the little ...more
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
I was craving a children's book with grown-up characters and this pretty much fit the bill. My least favorite parts were the three continuously soggy chapters after the flood and the narrator dominie's lack of sympathy for animals. It was uncomfortable to have characters randomly stepping over dead birds and chasing off dogs... especially the collie named Snap (collies will be forever flawless in my mind). The little 21 year old minister was an interesting character, though J.M. Barrie might hav ...more
Karen Moore
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading this book over and over for years. It's funny, exciting and reflects many insights into life that are still relevant today. It never fails to make me laugh aloud. It is a tale of two romances, mystery, the foibles and benefits of religion, and human nature. When the little minister meets a beautiful but independent gypsy girl, he says to her something like, "But, madam, I am a minister!" She replies, "That's alright, I forgive you."
Linda Johnson
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like Scotch ...

A delightful book from the author of Peter Pan about a young minister and the "Egyptian" who bewitches him. The townspeople, who speak in thick accents, are as much of a backdrop as the Scottish countryside.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply charming!
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by the same James Barrie who is beloved for writing Peter Pan. In this quaint and old-fashioned story of the little minister (who is both young and slight of frame, and is sensitive about his height), one gets to know the small Scottish weaving village of Thrums and its inhabitants, chief among them Gavin Dishart and his shy mother who move to Thrums for his appointment as the new minister. The story that follows is almost naive in its simplicity, but so deep and rich in character develo ...more
Charlie Parry
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps better known for a little story he wrote called Peter Pan, JM Barrie also penned this humorous tale about a young man who aimed to take his corner of the world by storm, but then fell in love.

Gavin Dishart is only 1 and twenty, and already is the minister of a 'kirk' in a small town, where he is idolized by nearly one and all. Kirk - you ask? Turns out that's "church" in Scottish brogue, which is simultaneously one of the most hilarious and also the most frustrating parts of this read.
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because I saw the Katherine Hepburn movie.

It was a pleasant read, though a bit difficult getting through the Scottish dialect/language parts.

I actually don't remember how the movie resolved itself, but the book felt different, and definitely better. The characters felt less like caricatures. (Which is not to say that they were any less so, it just felt that way.)

We have the new, very young, minister in town, with his doting mother. And we have the wild "Egyptian", and it's always
Aug 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Amanda by: I saw the movie starring Katharine Hepburn and I liked it alot
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynne Tull
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
I read this book when I was in the 5th grade in Mrs Young's class. We had to select a book from the library, read it, and then give a book report. I select J. M Barre's 'The Little Minister'. After the first ten pages I decided it was too hard for me. It was written in a Scottish dialect that I had to translate before I understood the words. I proceeded to tell Mrs. Young that I wanted a different book that this one was too hard. You can guess the answer I got. "No, you can't trade. I want you t ...more
Apr 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an entertaining read but not at all what I initially expected from the author of "Peter Pan". This book does not have the fantasy elements that Barrie encorporated in to "Peter Pan" but the humor remains. The book was engaging and had it all; action, romance and humor. Getting use to the dialect was also a source of entertainment for me for when it is read outloud it can sound quite humorous. I do not know that I would recommend this for the YA audience that my local library has it ...more
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book teeters on the edge of mawkishness throughout, but the strong characterisation and plot twists save it. The climax is truly thrilling and genuinely moving. Don't be put off by the dialect - read it quickly and the sense will be clear, it adds hugely to the sense of place which helps to make this so absorbing. It might help though if you Google 'Auld Licht' and UP before you begin unless you are already an expert in the history of Scottish non-conformism.
Karen Ullo
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If it weren't for the indecipherable rendering of Scotch accents, I would give it 5 stars. And yet, something would have been lost without those accents. It's a story as old as man, boy falls in love with the wrong girl, girl falls in love with the wrong boy - in this case, a minister and a gypsy. Barrie's treatment of their story is sweet and insightful, with an ending I did not expect.
Babs M
Apr 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but a little difficult to follow due to the fact that much of the text was Scottish dialect among the characters although the narration was in normal language. It is the first book that I ever read with Babbie as a character which pleases me since that has been my nickname since I was born. Worth reading I just suggest brushing up on your Scottish Gaelic.
Mary Beth
Apr 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The first page of this book is absolutely DELICIOUS. However, the rest of it is a bit on the boring side... it drags. It did have a certain cuteness to it though, which was enough to keep me reading. It's a relaxing book.
Nicole G.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
It's really quite a simple love story at its heart, but its charming way of telling it really draws you in. It does take a little bit to get into the rhythm of the Scottish dialogue, but once you "hear" it, it just flows on.
Suzanne Kunz Williams
I enjoyed this book so much that I remember wanting to name one of our boys Gavin after the hero in the story.
Kristen Landon
The style is just too old-fashioned for me. There actually is an interesting story in there, burried in page after page of boring detail and tangents.
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite enchanting, except for those portions where it was merely gripping.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful love story by the author of Peter Pan.
Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All the time I was reading this book I loathed the key character. He puts me in mind of many public personas today - I didn't inhale and I don't remember having sex...
Sep 26, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I started this twice before losing interest. I'll come back to it again. I think I just had too many other books I really want to read.
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bekah!
One of my favorite classic books. Written by the same author as 'Peter Pan'. This is funny, serious, and has great characters. Bekah, you will love the heroine!
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: barrie
A romance between a pastor and a gypsy girl
Sep 03, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I didn't even get past page 100 - it was so difficult to read the language and follow the story line. Not fun at all :-(
Sarah D
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of the wittiest most endearing novels I have ever read! Babbie is an unimaginable pleasure. I all but ate up her words. One of very few stories who has a likeable heroine.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a slow narrative, full of tough-to-decipher vernacular, but the plot was engaging in spite of all.
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Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan.

The son of a weaver, Barrie studied at the University of Edinburgh. He took up journalism, worked for a Nottingham newspaper, and contributed to various London journals before moving to London in 1885. His early works, Auld Licht Idylls (1889) and A Window in Thrums (188
More about J.M. Barrie...

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“Let no one who loves be called altogether unhappy. Even love unreturned has its rainbow.” 1007 likes
“Life is a long lesson in humility.” 334 likes
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