"Classic" literature is my bread and butter and on occasion my jar of Chivers bitter marmalade. And some YA lit has the power to add to this culinary tour de force by acting as the slice of sharp cheddar that, when added to the rest, helps me gain ten pounds in the course of a morning. Om nom nom books.
But even the classics can leave you with a bad case of diarrhea. Actually, a LOT of the classics can do that. My Darling My Hamburger, anyone? But I digress and cut short my food and gastro-intestinal comparisons. For now.
I've heard wonderful things about Edith Wharton ever since I could read. During my epic move this summer, when half the family library was relocated to my room, I suddenly discovered that, lo' and behold, I owned an Edith Wharton novel: Ethan Frome. I jumped, eager for some early twentieth-century writing I'd never seen before.
I- I tried to get through this book, you guys. I tried so hard.
The Good: Everything wonderful you may hear about Edith Wharton's writing is true. Her style is what got me as far through Ethan Frome as I did. It's beautiful, eloquent, and stands strong with her male contemporaries.
The Bad: But the story ran into the fundamental problem that I can't stand any narrative set in New England and related areas that doesn't include eldritch gods, the vengeful dead, and/or other Lovecraftian horrors that strike well-deserved terror into the cold, suspicious, puritanical hearts of New Englanders.
The Rest: If you like John Updike stories but want better writing set a little earlier in time, this may be the book for you. I, for one, will be looking for other Edith Wharton writings that don't make me cringe. As it stands, I have to grade Ethan Frome on two different levels.
The Writing: 5 Mushrooms
The Story: 2 Mushrooms
- Maria D'Isidoro
- was sold to gypsies as a small child for half a tank of gas and a kitten. She was quickly, if not easily, retrieved by her mother after the kitten was revealed to be an Eldrich horror looking for a ride into the nearest metropolitan area to begin wreaking havoc. It's been a bone of contention between Maria and her family ever since, whether the Horror-kitten would've been more or less trouble than she grew up to be.