Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Forgot One

I forgot to post this one yesterday == a childhood favorite!

A Girl of the Limberlost A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I first read this book when I was around 11. I felt so sorry for Elnora, and couldn't understand how her mother could be so mean. I loved the descriptions of the swamp, feared for Elnora's safety, and rooted for her all the way. It was a book I reread a number of times, and in fact, still have an early copy of the book that I discovered in the treasure store that was my grandmother's attic. As I read the novel again, probably 40 years since I last read it, I was amazed at how well it held up. It's melodramatic for sure, florid. and preachy, but it's still captivating. And this time, I really noticed the ecological themes. Throughout the book, Elnora and her mother refer constantly to the draining and logging of the Limberlost, and the impact of the changing landscape on the wildlife communities -- birds, moths, butterflies, grasses, ferns, etc. At the same time, although Elnora laments the scarcity of the moths she's looking for, the changes are not considered wrong or destructive in the same way we see it today. I enjoyed this re-read of a childhood favorite but I don't think it would appeal to most of the middle school students I teach. I think the writing style and social changes would make this a tough book for most of them to get into.

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