Monday, July 21, 2014

The Yearling

I intended to read The Yearlingby Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in June, but the copy I wanted was checked out from the library so I waited.  It seemed a little silly since I had a copy sitting on my own bookshelf at home, but I wasn't sure I'd finish it if I started it.  You see, I've started The Yearling twice before and never got past a chapter or two.  I suspect it had something to do with the fat chunky paperback version I picked up every time.  The font was tiny, the book was short and thick, and I was intimidated.

And so I waited for my preferred version to be returned to the library.  The copy I chose was a tall hardback with medium print and had illustrations by N. C. Wyeth, plus had the lovely smell of an old (not musty!) book. 

Maybe you've seen the movie version of this story.  I haven't, but I did know the story was about a deer and had some sad story elements.

What I didn't know was how well you get to know the characters: Jody, a young boy who is coming of age in back-country Florida in the 1870s; Penny, his gentle, hardworking father; Ora, Jody's rough world-weary mother; even Slewfoot, the bear who just can't be caught. I didn't know I would feel what they were feeling and identify with people whose situation is nothing like my own.

I didn't know this book was so much more than an animal story.  I didn't know it was a story about a boy becoming a man, about learning that people aren't always what they seem, and that in real life, the lines between hero and villain are a strange blur.

I didn't expect to love this book, given that I struggle with classics and that I'm not a fan of historical fiction. And yet, when I started reading, I read if from cover to cover, all 400+ pages in a handful of days.

Have you ever started a book with a preconceived idea...and had it totally surprise you?

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to know that you've now read one of my favorites...and now we can sit down and compare notes!


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