June 28, 2012

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

I don't know if it is the voice of the authors, the simpler time, or the writing style of the time, but I do enjoy books that are written and/or take place in the early twentieth century written for young ladies or teens.  To some they may be over-simplified, but I do enjoy them!

Reading to Know - Book ClubThis month's Reading to Know Book Club selection was a title written by Gene Stratton-Porter fit into that early 1900's book selection, but I didn't know it until after I began reading A Girl of the Limberlost.  I have to say, until I was about halfway through with the book, I thought the title was really awkward.  I wanted to change it to The Girl from Limberlost.  But then I understood that Limberlost is the swamp's name, and the title is great for it.

I actually completed the book a couple weeks ago, but life has been especially busy, mostly with traveling, and writing posts that require much thought have been difficult.  With that said, I know this review won't be very thorough.  Sorry...

A Girl of the LimberlostA Brief Summary:
A Girl of the Limberlost is about Elnora.  When we are first introduced to her, she is 16 years old, and lives with her poor (and miserable) mother, a widow, at the Limberlost Swamp.  Elnora wants to go to high school in the near by town, but her mother does nothing to prepare her for it.  Shabbily dressed Elnora is rather embarrassed to learn that not only does she need to pay for school, but also the books.  She must pay for it herself.  A resourceful girl, she meets with Bird Woman, to sell moths from her swamp and her own beloved collection.  As time goes by, Elnora also plans to save money for college.  Her circumstances change after she graduates from school, as do her desires. A young man comes to visit to recover from illness, and spends the summer assisting her in her collecting.  The second part of the book focuses on their friendship (and his engagement to another girl).  

Knowing A Girl of the Limberlost was written in 1909 was part of the reason for my surprise at the way Elnora's mother treated her.  Mrs. Comstock called her names, especially in the beginning of the book.  Elnora was clearly neglected and unloved.  It was really Elnora's perseverance through her circumstances combined with continual love for her mother, despite frustration, and the beauty in nature that made me enjoy this.  It also demonstrates the importance of coming along side orphans and widows, not only to care for them but to be their friend.

I enjoyed the selection, and was glad to read it.  I'd definitely recommend it for a teen girl.  In my opinion, it's even okay for a younger teen.  Though there is a bit of romance, it is appropriate.  Apparently many bookish folks know about it and think highly of it.  I hadn't heard of it before now...maybe I'm not as bookish as I'd like to be.

If you are interested in July's book club, it is anything Narnia!!  Go.  Read.  Have fun!

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}


  1. Sounds interesting. Perhaps one I should think about for my daughters in the years to come? Is there reconciliation with the mom, and what happens with the boy, or should I just read it myself?! :-)

    1. Yes, the mother and daughter reconcile! Their relationship is truly reborn! As for the boy, the engagement is finally broken off, but not before the reader totally dislikes his fiance's attitude and lack of sensibility. You might enjoy reading with your daughters later, or wait a bit longer for them to read it themselves.

  2. I hadn't thought about it til now, but I think "of" is really a better fit than "from" for the title. She doesn't just come from there, but most of her life involves the Limberlost, she earns her livelihood there, seeks refuge there, falls in love there. It seems to encompass her life. But either word would work, really.

    I admired her perseverance, too.

    1. I decided to edit the post to reflect that the title is, indeed, appropriate the way it is! :) Your thoughts are spot-on!

  3. I always enjoy books like that, I've added it to my "to read" list. I just finished a good one today, that I"ll hopefully be getting my review up for next week.

  4. I agree about the treatment from her mother! I just cringed every time she called Elnora "idiot". I can't imagine doing that.

  5. If you enjoyed Elnora's story, you will probably also enjoy Stratton-Porter's "Freckles" a story that follows the boy who precedes Elnora as a child of the Limberlost, and appears with his family at the end of this book. I grew up reading Stratton-Porter's books, most of them collected by my mother when she was a girl in the 1920's. "The Harvester" is my favorite! A beautiful love story, delicately written, this book contains two of the most profound statements of faith I've ever read.Before I knew God and found the Word, this book was my moral compass. Any young woman could benefit from reading these great classics.


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