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|Number of Pages||:||538 Pages|
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boston adventure Reviews
Even though this took me almost a month to read, I really loved it. Great characters, great view into a certain weird slice of 20's-40's New England life.
Brilliant. A dense and fascinating novel of 1930's Boston society from an impoverished young girl's point of view. Loved the writing, the wit, the insights, and more.
It was a bit slow and dated. Written in 1944. There were some interesting side stories though about that era. Now I must go and photograph Pinckney Street.
Jean Stafford is #1 storyteller.
I preferred the first part of this much-overwritten book to the second. In the first section, Sonie is young & growing up in her chaotic home with her father who is a guilt-driven German alcoholic and her mother who is Russian and at once lazy and hysterical. They're also broke, of course. Sonie works in a resort-ish hotel visited mainly by elderly well-to-do folks and she is fascinated by a spinster, Miss Pride, for all the things she is that her parents are not: organized, neat, proper, very secure in her sense of self, and financially comfortable. Sonie's days move between the world of cleaning Miss Pride's room and going home to chaos at night. It's rather bleak as one horrible thing after another happens, but the characterization is rich and something about it kept pulling me through.The second part of the book she does go to live with Miss Pride as her secretary so she is rescued from the privations and challenges of her childhood in Chichester. And the whole thing loses its oomph. The first thing that happens in this section is she attends a tea party which goes on for 40 pages or something interminable like that. We are introduced to all these Boston society people, and I kept wondering why I should care. This part of the book winds up being about Miss Pride's niece, Hopestill (wtf?), and the man who is entranced by her, the doctor. Sonie sort of likes the doctor, then decides she doesn't, so there isn't even really a love triangle there. She did like a guy she knew when she was young, Nathan, but he is so unpleasant to her and is in love with some ridiculous Japanese woman instead, I had very little interest in him at all. She's not really involved in anything or with anyone. Though she does wind up putting her mother in an insane asylum, and the parts that deal with her mother are the most compelling in this section but they are few & far between. For the Boston bits, I think maybe Sonie was intended to be an observer/narrator like Nick in Gatsby, but Stafford did not pull that off at all. The writing gets more & more turgid and forced, analogies go on for half a page and they're not even that helpful, and it just got harder and harder to keep reading and the only reason I finished was because I had gone through all of that and I didn't want to give up. But I would say to others, read the first part and once she gets to Boston, know that things work out OK, and call that the end and put the book down.Oh, and in the second part, there are also little spikes of nastiness where people say things like Hitler has the right idea about the Jews. So, yeah. Many reasons why this book hasn't withstood the test of time.