Chris's Reviews > Sir Gibbie

Sir Gibbie by George MacDonald
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's review
Mar 12, 2011

it was amazing
Read in March, 2011

MacDonald is my favorite author, and he rarely disappoints. I can be a very critical personality, but MacDonald is the one author I have grown to trust almost implicitly. I always learn from him, and he always refreshes my vision and power to see beauty in the world. He makes me feel like he can actually makes sense of the cosmos, and does a better job than I’ve EVER witnessed of integrating the sorrow and pain of life into a worldview in which life would be less without the presence of suffering and questions. His writings bring peace, while challenging me to accept new risks, and I always try to have books of his in my reading pile at least a few times a year.

Sir Gibbie was another exceptional read with poetic brilliance and ideological diamonds buried throughout. I generally feel that GM’s plot builds around and subordinately to his central proposition and philosophy (his ‘sermon’), but this storyline was almost as profound as the morals and one-liners.

Sir Gibbie is about a mute child that is orphaned and homeless, living off the charity of others initially, ultimately finding his fortunes change as he comes of age, and rising to a station of influence. His is a life you can see straight to the bottom of, teeming with the clear and life-giving waters of love and hope. But he is no pushover—his robust physical/spiritual stature comes to the aid of the weak and poor around him. Gibbie is pure in heart…almost too pure for a reader’s cynicism. MacDonald acknowledges this by offering a defense for the obvious, improbable nature of such a wholesome persona that exemplifies good and true humanity: “It is the noble, not the failure from the noble, that is the true human. I have attempted to portray] a man trying to be merely as noble as is absolutely essential to his being.” I loved following this protagonist as other characters ‘bumped’ into him, astonished to find in him a deeply beautiful nature without the trappings and dysfunctions of vapid socialites.

A few quotes from the book may be the best way to evidence what I believe to be the unrivaled genius of MacDonald’s works,

“Hardy through hardship, he knew nothing better than a constant good-humored sparring with nature and circumstance for the privilege of being.”
“Most children would rather be struck and kissed alternately than neither.”
“When life begins to speculate upon itself, I suspect it has begun to die.”
“Every honest cry, even if sent through the deaf ears of an idol, passes on to the ears of the unknown God, the heart of the unknown Father.”
“She had found that her brains were never worth much to her until her heart took up the education of them.”
“The one secret of life and development is not to devise and plan, but to fall in with the forces at work—to do every moment’s duty aright.”
“To try too hard to make people good is one way to make them worse; the only way to make them good is to be good…the time for speaking comes rarely, the time for being never departs.”
“For when a man spends his energy on appearing to have, he is all the time destroying what he has.”
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Reading Progress

03/12/2011 page 371
06/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Amanda (new)

Amanda You love your MacDonald!

Nathan C. There is something too deep for words after a book like this. I see you know it, too.

Chris Nathan wrote: "There is something too deep for words after a book like this. I see you know it, too."


message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen Shank That's an awesome comment Nathan!

Jeff I like your statement, " and power to see beauty in the world." I think that hits the mark as to why I liked Sir Gibbie so much. Gibbie sees and experiences beauty when all the rest of the world can only see pain and hardship.

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