Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What I've Read Recently

What I've Read Recently . . . 

Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter -- Young Adult Classic

This follow-up to Freckles is about Elnora Comstock, a girl who lives on the edge of the dwindling Limberlost. Her father died the day she was born and her mother is lost to bitterness and grief so Elnora has been left to her own devices to study at the school of hard knocks. She desires learning above all else and has inherited Freckles' room and books. She loves the trees and the wind and the beautiful moths of the swap, but what she really wants is to go to school. Having finished grammar school, she decides to attend high school in Onabasha. She encounters many difficulties and is able to overcome prejudice through her natural good grace and humor. Money troubles are always on the horizon but help comes in the form of Elnora's specimens. The Bird Woman and others are willing to pay Elnora to collect rare moths and ferns and other flora and fauna of the Limberlost. As the years go on, Elnora has to fight through her mother's neglect, more financial difficulties and matters of the heart. With the help of some allies (some unexpected, others not) she finds she can hold her head high and deal with anything that comes her way and she may just have a happily ever after after all. 

This story is very similar to Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea with the extra added component of nature. The descriptions of the moths and the Limberlost are incredibly detailed. I learned a lot about the flora and fauna of the lower Great Lakes region and I wished I could see it for myself. The plot is interesting and engaging. It captured my attention from the beginning and I had a hard time putting it down. There are some of the usual plot devices as seen in Anne, but the way they come about is more realistic and the characters more fleshed out. There is one plot point mentioned early on (the gang) that never fully made it into the book that left me confused as to why it was introduced. I especially liked the character of Elnora's mother because she is so fully described, has a back story and undergoes a lot of change and growth throughout the story. I liked Elnora but she's a bit too good to be true. She doesn't have the charm of Anne. She's just too perfect and good. My favorite character is Billy. He would be good friends with Davy in Anne of Avonlea. His scenes always made me laugh even when they were tragic. (That was intended by the author). The Library of Indiana Classics edition has wood cut illustrations in black and white which don't fully do the story justice. I would have liked to have seen full color illustrations and illustrations of the moths. If you love Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, The Secret Garden, and A Little Princess, you will be sure to enjoy this classic as well.

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