Monday, December 28, 2015

December Birthday Club: O Pioneers!

If you stalk my reading challenge page or my Goodreads currently-reading shelf, you know that I was supposed to read Sense and Sensibility. BUT I was in the middle of Seabiscuit and Pilgrims Progress and practicing the Christmas program and trying to test out of my English class. So yeah. Because I usually read Jane Austen rather slowly, I realized last week that that wasn't gonna happen. So I looked around and found that Willa Cather was supposedly born in December!

(Actually Wikipedia says probably not, but Google and her tombstone say yes so hey I'll take it!)

Because I really enjoyed My Antonia by Cather which I read earlier this year, I decided to give O Pioneers! a try. Also, I could get it on my phone from the library easily. It was a pretty quick read, especially when I buckled down so I could read the Star Wars book my brother gave me for Christmas :D

This book is hard to describe. O Pioneers! follows Alexandra through her life on the Nebraska prairie as she tries to become prosperous. Not much happens until the last section though. I mean stuff happens, but nothing BIG.  I was more struck by the character development, emotion, and beauty of the writing than the actual story, which is actually pretty tragic.

Like in My Antonia, the scenery is described beautifully. I have always wanted to see the prairie. Blame it on Willa Cather and Laura Ingalls Wilder I guess. I enjoyed seeing the transformation of the farm from poor to prosperous, although you don't actually see the transformation. You just see the beginning and the end product.

I also liked the contrast between those who needed to leave the prairie and see the world and those who belonged to the land. I think there's some of both in me. Also, Alexandra and Emil's relationship was sooo sweet! And Carl!!! I liked him from the start! The ending is tragic, but had certain characters made different choices when they were younger, it might not have happened. That's sad, but it's the truth.

One last word on Alexandra. I liked her and loved how she made smart choices and didn't let what people thought of her influence her, but I didn't LOVE her. As the book says, she was smart, but not clever, and she had trouble relating to people. Although I admire her hard work and love for others, I don't want to be exactly like her.

I loved this book, but I probably won't read it again, at least soon. It's one of those books that's just "there" in your memory, a sweet read that gives you plenty to think about at the time, but then kind of fades. (Kind of like My Antonia cuz I couldn't remember a single thing until I looked it up on Wikipedia XD )

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