Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Review of The Country of Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett

Name of Book: A country of Pointed Firs

Author: Sarah Orne Jewett

ISBN: 1-883011-34-5

Publisher: Library of America

Type of book: Countryside, seaside, herbs, vacation, summer, tales of people, 1800s

Year it was published:  1896

Summary:

Modeled in part on Flaubert's sketches of life in provincial France, this collection of stories offers a richly detailed portrait of a seaport on the Maine coast as seen through the eyes of a summer visitor. Against evocative imagery of the sky, the sea, and the earth itself, Jewett celebrates the friendships shared by the town's women, capturing the spirit of community that sustains the declining town

Characters:

While some of the characters were interesting and had fascinating facets to them. I couldn't really get engaged to the characters, or even care about them. The more interesting character is that of Joanna who was a hermit for one reason or another, and perhaps Mrs. Todd and her brother William. Other than that, others tended to be flat and uninspired.

Theme:

There's meaning to everyday life

Plot:

Its written in first person narrative from an anonymous guest that's staying with Mrs. Todd who's a local herbalist. The book focuses on everyday life and there really isn't a plot or conflict in the book, but was mostly a season of what its like in Maine on the seaside coast. I would have liked to see the book as more of a year thing rather than summer, which I've gotten with Deephaven.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

born
in South Berwick, Maine, The United States September 03, 1849

died
June 24, 1909

gender
female

website
http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/jewett.htm

genre
Literature & Fiction, Short Stories

Sarah Orne Jewett was an American novelist and short story writer, best known for her local color works set in or near South Berwick, Maine, on the border of New Hampshire, which in her day was a declining New England seaport.

Opinion:

This is very similar to Deephaven; both novels written by Sara Orne Jewett portray life in seaside towns where there aren't young people, and instead she focuses on the old people and their adventures. While Deephaven was somehow breathtaking and engaging, I couldn't feel the same magic come from this novel. Instead I found it a bit dry and boring read. I guess it seemed like a rewriting of Deephaven but somehow it was made kind of boring. Its best described as an everyday novel where the author focuses on banal activities of how old people spend time in Maine such as visiting, cooking, fishing, and reminiscing of people. There isn't action or a plot. I think this is one of the novels that one has to re-read over and over to understand magic. Best way I can think of is somehow link it to Jane Austen's books, except the characters don't focus on love and romance, and I couldn't stand Jane Austen on her own.

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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