Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Home.... A book review.....
A book review....
'Home' written by Marilynne Robinson takes place in the 1950's in the small Iowa town of Gilead. It is sort of a spin off from Robinson's earlier Pulitzer Prize winning book Gilead. In 'Home' the story takes place once again in the town of Gilead and Robinson has reintroduced some of the same characters.
'Home' is told through the character Glory. Glory, the youngest of eight children, has been abandoned by her fiance, and has come back home to take care of her aging and ailing father. As she sets about completing her daily tasks she notices that not much has changed in the house over the years. The same curtains are hanging on the windows. The same dishes remain in the china cabinet. The furniture and books are stuffy and old. The house it's self is in disrepair as is the yard and garden.
Glory also notices that things have not changed much with her father either. Life with him seems the same as it aways was except that he is much older now. He is a traditionalist who still has the same opinions and habits. He leads a very structured life. He still continues to morn for his son Jack who has left home many years ago.
In a twist of events Jack suddenly returns home. There is a sense of venerability about him. He is broken. Jack has always felt different than the rest of the family. He has always felt like he never quite fit in. He is an alcoholic and was considered a "hell raiser' in his youth.
At first Glory is not comfortable or happy about Jack returning home but eventually the two of them form a bond. He opens up to her and she becomes protective of him. Together they begin to repair the yard and garden. They also share the responsibility for caring for their father. Through their relationship and that of the father the reader is able to have a glimpse of what life might have been like in a small town in the 1950's.
Although Glory seems to settle into her life back home, Jack does not. He becomes restless, increasingly depressed, and at times at odds with his father who has different views and opinions about the world than he does. Jack wants to change. He questions if he can change but doubts that he ever will. The more he tries to conform the more restless and depressed he becomes. The father doesn't understand Jack. He doesn't understand why Jack is the way he is. We can also sense his pain and frustration.
I thought one of the the most poignant passages in the book is as follows:
"Glory said, "It's been hard for him to come here. You should be kinder to him."A moment passed, and her father stirred from his reverie. "Kinder to him! I thanked God for him every day of his life, no matter how much grief, how much sorrow- and at the end of it all there is only more grief, more sorrow, and his life will go on that way, no help for it now. You see something beautiful in a child, and you almost live for it, you feel as though you would die for it, but it isn't yours to keep or protect. And if the child becomes a man who has no respect for himself, it's just destroyed till you can hardly remember what it was-" He said, "It's like watching a child die in your arms." He looked at Jack. "which I have done."
Have any of you read this book? If so, I would love to hear from you.
You can find my other book reviews listed on 'Booking With Charli and Me." I hope you will stop by for a visit. While your there don't forget to see 'Brides Unveiled' on the side bar. It's a beautiful collection of wedding dresses worn by Hollywood brides in movies.
I hope all of you have had a lovely day ♥
With warmest regards, Carol