If you dearly love this book (::cough::EmmaJane::cough::), smile to yourself and say, "Oh, good, Hamlette has read this at last. I'm so happy for her!" Then close your browser window, go for a swim or eat a popsicle, and leave it at that.
I'm not even kidding.
Sigh. I expected to like this book. I expected to at least enjoy it. I mean, it's about pioneers, and I'm quite fond of pioneers. It's about the Midwest, and I'm from the Midwest. It's about people making do with what they have, which is a theme that tends to draw me.
And I think I could have liked this book a lot if the author hadn't kept getting in the way. Every time the protagonist, Abbie Deal, would start to be happy, the author would drop another anvil on her, so to speak. "Oh, Abbie is happily married? Let's make her miserable. Oh, she's happy to be a mother? Time to make her miserable again. Wait, her new house makes her happy? Better make her miserable! She's finally got the chance to fulfill her dream of painting? No, no, we can't have that -- make her give it up! She has a chance to rest a little and try her hand at writing? Throw an obstacle at her! She tries writing again? Make her be bad at it!" And on and on and on.
Once again, I am not kidding. This author seems to have hated her protagonist. Because she goes to extreme lengths to slowly, steadily grind this character down until I wanted to scream. I did slam the book down on the table in disgust a couple of times. Only the faint, wavering hope of a satisfactory ending (and the desire to figure out why some people love this book so much) kept me reading. And the ending was okay. At least Abbie Deal got to be happy in death, for which I am grateful, because otherwise I'd have had to find out where Aldrich is buried and go dance and spit all over her grave.
This book depressed me. I've been in a bitter, angry mood for two days while I strove to just finish the blasted thing off already.
Sure, my reaction is partly because I'm a mom, I have dreams, I have the desire to write, and seeing someone similar to myself get beaten into the ground made me furious. I don't have the patience and meekness that Abbie Deal had to simply let go of things she desired -- I'm a fist-shaker and a foot-stomper. And after awhile, that patience and meekness got irksome too, until she started becoming boringly saint-like. Sigh. Oh well, I'm done with it, and that's some comfort.
If This Book was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G.
This is my 41st book read and reviewed for the Classics Club and my 10th for the Women's Classic Literature Event.