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A Green Journey
Jon Hassler
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A Green Journey

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  666 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
"Hassler's characters have old-fashioned values and typical human failings; they make this a novel to restore your faith in humanity."
Agatha McGee is following a dream, though it might be late in the game. She's just retired from a career of teaching and travels to Ireland in search of the romance she never had time for. And along the way, she not only dis
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published December 1st 1984 by William Morrow & Company (first published 1984)
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Rachel M
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just love Agatha McGee. She is not the type of character I would expect to love, though - she is full of harsh edges and what some might call "religious spirits." But there is something so endearing in the chaos of her story among her inner certainty of how life should be. She wants to orient the world to her inner rightness, and yet it will not be righted: in the meantime she learns the gift of acceptance - acceptance of the people life throws her way.

I was not sure how to think of James O
Geri Degruy
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a delightful read! The book is well written. The characters were well drawn, human and ultimately lovable. One of the main themes was figuring out how to negotiate and be with people/groups with whom one has differences. Can we let go of our personal rigidities and staunch beliefs in order to make peace with another?
Em Parac
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Jon Hassler book and since then got me hooked. With books, I care more about the writing rather than a grand plot. Hassler's style and his "laid-back" plots are exactly what I want.
Terry Rupple
Reading this series is interesting. This book centered on one of my favorite characters from Stagerford - the first book in this series.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From my blog: (\__/)nymfaux

Agatha McGee is a brash and unapologetic no-nonsense spinster. She’s spent her entire life devoted to her Catholic faith and 46 years teaching her sixth grade students. To the small town of Staggerford, MN, Miss McGee is as much an institution as St. Isadore’s, where she teaches, and even the Church, itself. Everyone seems to have put Agatha in a neat little box, expecting her to retire and take up knitting and bingo.

A new bishop is threatening to close St. Isadore’s
Many years ago I watched the film of this book set in a small American town and have unsuccessfully tried to obtain a copy of it but with no luck. I recently decided to buy the actual book and am glad I did so. As is often the case there is so much more depth to this gentle and a little old-fashioned tale, The main wonderful character is Miss Agatha McGee who is a 'dyed in the wool' traditional member of the Roman Catholic Church and has dedicated her life to serve as a schoolteacher in the loca ...more
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-reading
If it had not been for Gladys Hunt’s mention of Green Journey in Honey for a Woman's Heart, I would never have heard of it. Although the blurbs called it “charming,” “heartwarming,” and “lovely,” I approached the book with my usual skepticism toward anything written in the 20th Century. The beginning was awkward – a stilted conversation between an unwed mother, her father and a stodgy old maid. But as the character of Agatha McGee takes shape, you really begin to care about her and words like “s ...more
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A journey to Ireland is the basis of this story as told from the prospective of several friends who went for various reasons. see a man she had been writing to for 4 years but had never met, her friend Evelyn... who wanted to tour everything there was to see, Janet... who was supposed to go there for her delayed honeymoon but went anyway when her husband backed out, and Father Dick Baker... who went to try to rustle up some new priests from the Irish seminary to come to the states to ...more
Feb 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-09
I was hoping to get more out of this book, and I'm not sure how it made it to my to read list. I thought I was looking for funny, comical books and this one came up. It was available on so I mooched and read it.

There are comments on the back about wanting to read aloud passages, and laughing at parts...I did neither.

I guess I was just expecting something more. It was a good book about a retired catholic school teacher, Agatha McGee, who feels the catholic faith is going down hill
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Except for North of Hope, Hassler has set all of his books (at least those I have read) in the town of Staggerford, MN. The Character of Agatha, McGee reoccurs in all of the books. She is the main character in this one. A mid to lat 60ish spinster, teacher and Staunch old-fashioned Catholic who, as she comes to the end of her career looks back on her life, finds love, she thinks, and comes to terms with modernity, in her fashion. There is a trip to Ireland that wonderfully evokes the people and ...more
Nov 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his fourth novel Hassler returns to Staggerford, Minn., for the first time since "Staggerford;" not that his incisive looks at small-town Midwestness in places not named Staggerford are big departures. Here, in fact, much of the plot ends up taking place abroad.

The strong-willed yet occasionally kind-hearted sixty-something Agatha McGee takes center stage here, visiting a pen-pal in Ireland and finding he's more (and less) than what he seems. Nice characterizations and writing, as always, and
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is for those readers who like Catholic/Christian stories with a focus on a Catholic teacher. Agatha, is nearing retirement, and she is struggling with her decisions -- was it worthwhile to be a religious teacher for nearly forty years? Should she travel to Ireland and meet her pen pal of four years? Should she confide in her best friend of her secrets? I really enjoyed the character of Agatha -- she is very real and likable. The pace is quick and filled with lots of dialogue and many ...more
John Casserly
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nearly 8 years since I read this last. Such a great writer. Of the protagonist, Agatha McGee he wrote:

"Along with Preston Warner she rejected a house, a barn, I heard of guernseys and 100 acres of fertile soil. 'I was born to teach not to churn' she said, not realizing that he was her last chance. though it's doubtful that realizing it would have changed her mind. She loved classrooms. Barns made her sneeze."
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story of a retired Catholic School teacher in the mid 80's. She travels to Ireland to meet a life long penpal for the first time. There are characters galore and surprises abound all wrapped up in the scenery of small town America and the misty land of Eire. Tea and crumpets slathered with butter and marmalade and eaten while sitting in your favorite chair would be the perfect accompaniment. Enjoy
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this as a very cheap (@5 pesos) second-(or so)hand book with uninteresting cover at a book sale, but because it's so cheap I bought it. So I was not expecting much from it. But I was pleasantly surprised to be enjoying it. Good writing with nice characters, I couldn't put it down (if only I don't have to work).
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A sweet story, but a little boring. It does seem a bit dated, the characters seem much older than they are supposed to be. I'm not sure that the story gives the best depiction of Ireland, again that may be due to the changes that have taken place in the country since the era in which this story took place.
Geo Forman
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
another thoroughtly enjoyable book by Hassler. This story revolves around Agatha McGee as she discovers that, even though she is several years past retirement age, life still offers lessons and challenges. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the incidents related in the book. thankfully there are still books involving Staggerford residents to anticipate.
Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have now read this book four times. Each time I laugh, each time I dread certain things coming, each time I think about the characters long after I have finished the book. Hassler is exceptional in his portrayal of humans with all of out strengths and foibles.
Jul 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Staggerford book of characters we've met before, here a retired teacher. "Green" refers to going on a trip to Ireland to meet a man she's been penpals with who turns out to be a priest who wanted a friend who didn't relate to him as a priest but as a person.
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable read. I love agatha McGee, this is a satisfying story with some great characters. Can't wait to read the sequel Dear James. There are a couple surprises and a really funny scene that shows that priests and bishops are human too.
Mar 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-fiction
In this very gentle fiction, an unmarried retired school teacher travels to Ireland to meet the penpal she has written to for four years. The plot thickens when she learns he is a priest. I enjoy almost everything this author writes.
Janet Dupont
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoy how the whole story. Agatha is a character to follow. Once I got going I definitely wanted to keep reading. Would love to have "sequels" just to follow some of the fringe characters. Will be reading DEAR JAMES next and fell it will be a good follow up.
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you enjoyed the character of Agnes McGee in Staggerford, you will enjoy this one more, as it expands on that character and gives her a soulmate. Enjoyable.
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm actually re-reading this book, in preparation for our trip to Ireland. Beautifully written, funny, touching. I love Jon Hassler.
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved the series of letters that form the heart of this book. It was a delightful read.
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agatha McGee is a great character. She would likely hate me, but I still visit her every few years.
Erin Fanning
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, old-fashioned story about three unlikely travel partners in Ireland. The author has a perfect touch with details, and every character's voice rings true. I highly recommend this novel.
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Agatha McGee and Father James O'Hannon - I loved it!
Jun 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bayneeta by: Debbie
Agatha, Janet, and Lillian Kite visit Ireland. Agatha meets her penpal, and considers what she'll do with her life in retirement. Book 2 in Hassler's Staggerford series.
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Jon Hassler was born in Minneapolis, but spent his formative years in the small Minnesota towns of Staples and Plainview, where he graduated from high school. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. John's University in 1955. While teaching English at three different Minnesota high schools, he received his Master of Arts degree in English from the University of North Dakota in ...more
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