Thursday, 4 February 2010

The sheltered life (Glasgow) 61

According to the blurb inside the jacket, Ellen Glasgow is considered one of America's most eminent classic writers, along with Willa Cather and Edith Wharton. I was thus intrigued as to what I would make of The sheltered life, since I like Cather immensely, but am less enthusiastic about Wharton.

The book tells the story of a number of characters living in Queensborough, a small town in the American South around the turn of the last century, told from the perspective of 76-year old General Archbald and his granddaughter Jenny Blair. The book mainly deals with the changing circumstances due to the growth of industry in the run up to the First World War and describes how this impacts on the mores of religion and convention. Bits of the book amused me, such as the opening scene where Jenny is reading Little Women, and being paid 1c per page by her grandfather (a lucrative deal since the book is over 500pp long), but despite this promising opening I struggled to enjoy it.

Just published the once by Virago, the edition had a fascinating introduction by Glasgow which discussed how she went about writing and how she concieved The sheltered life.


  1. Verity - this sounds very interesting. I am absolutely astounded by your VMC consumption - do you know how far the total collection you are? Hannah

  2. Hi Hannah - I've now reviewed over 170 books of the 550+. Some of them I had already read before starting the challenge, and have more minimal reviews...

  3. Aw, that's sweet about her grandfather paying her to read. When my older sister was learning to read, and she was really struggling with it, she got paid a dime for each sentence she read out of Laura Ingalls Wilder. A whole dime! For each sentence! I resented it mightily. I felt I should get a prize for learning to read without being bribed.

  4. Jenny - that would have been costly for my parents! Thank goodness the pleasure of reading is worth it for me.