My recommendation is that you find a copy of So Big by Edna Ferber and read it right now. It is the Great American Novel. Don't worry if you aren't an American because the tale of Selina Peake is universal. It just happens to take place in and near Chicago in the years just before and after the turn of the twentieth century.
I wouldn't dare give away any of the plot. I will tell you that Ms. Peake is an adventurous soul who is up for anything life has to send her way. She is a sparkling, glittering personality who finds herself in the mud and the poverty of a small truck-farming community south of Chicago. And still she continues to shine. She is a woman who finds beauty in the green and purple cabbages growing in the fields. How she manages to combine her love of beauty and the backbreaking, heartbreaking toil that comes with life on a small, uncompromising plot of land is the tale.
Ms. Ferber has a lot to say in this novel that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1925. She writes about fertilizer and friendship; poverty and prosperity; asparagus and art; city life and country life; architecture and authenticity; dreams and despair.
And hands. Ms. Ferber is fascinated with hands. She often refers to the rough, gnarled, scarred hands of the farmers and the soft, white, useless hands of the wealthy. (Guess which ones she admires the most.)
I really can't say enough about this book. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, thinking it would be outdated and fussy. It is anything but. I sometimes grow weary of characters in novels, but I never tired of Selina, the people in her life, and Ms. Ferber's look at the American culture of a century ago.
Highly, highly recommended. It will go on my list of favorite books to be reread and enjoyed. I hope it will go on yours.
Sounds good. I'll look for it at the library next week when I go. Thanks for the recommendation!ReplyDelete
Lark, I hope you like it. Let me know how you get on with it.Delete
How it is that a woman of my "certain age", who was born in Chicago and lived in the Chicago area her entire like (and one who loves to read, I might add) has not yet read "So Big" is beyond comprehension. I will try to get to it soon, Belle. Your post and enthusiasm beg for my reading it.ReplyDelete
Oh, Penny, I predict you will be amazed! Great history of your city. Let me know how you like it.Delete
Sold. I'll put it straight on the list. Sounds fascinating.ReplyDelete
Kathy, I don't think you will be disappointed. It is a wonderful read!Delete
I would really like to read one of her books - I started 'Roast Beef, Medium' but the tone didn't grab me, so I put it aside to wait for the right mood... Maybe I'd do better with this one.ReplyDelete
Vicki, I think 'So Big' is most likely her most popular book. I had to look up the 'Roast Beef, Medium' book - I had never heard of that one. The premise looks interesting, but as you say, perhaps the tone is not quite right. Anyway, I hope you give 'So Big' a try and that you find it as fascinating as I did.Delete