Friday, October 13, 2006

His Family - Winner, Novel/Fiction, 1918

His Family
by: Ernest Poole
Macmillan, 1916
www.gutenberg.org

"You will live on in our children's lives." - Judith Gale, His Family

His Family tells the story of Roger Gale and his struggle to really know and understand his three grown daughters after the passing of his wife. Before her death, she urged him to carefully remember all that the girls had done so that, "when you come after me, my dear, oh, how hungry I shall be for all you will tell me. For you will live on in our children's lives." This is the theme of the book as Roger tries desperately to keep up with his daughters and their families. Each of the daughters is strikingly different and each exemplifies a different stereotype of women in the years leading up to the "Roaring Twenties." Edith, the oldest, is the old fashioned mother and stay at home mom who strives diligently to have her children raised in a proper fashion. Her world revolves around her children. The middle child, Deborah, is the social reformer. She doesn't marry until she is older because she spends so much time working in the tenements in New York City and campaigning for women's suffrage. Laura is the youngest and is a perfect example of the early rise of the flapper. She lives the social life with no regard to the amount of money she is spending or to the feelings of her family around her.
This book is by far my favorite yet. My favorite period of history is the time from the end of the Civil War to right before World War II. It is fascinating to read this account of a family trying to move with the times at a very tumultuous time socially in American history. Some fight for the traditional values and some jump with all they have into a carefree life focused on 'self'. The book runs over into World War I and shows how a war in Europe affected Americans economically. The theme of family carrying on through generations and how generations affect each other is also fascinating. It is wonderful as Roger gradually realizes the importance of those who were before and the impact he will have on those after him.
The book is a very fast read. Many chapters end in the middle of a scene giving the reader the feeling that they must read on. By the end of the book you know the characters well and see their faults and strengths as Roger discovers them. It contains many good lessons for those of us today.

4 comments:

Grete said...

Wow! That was a fast read between this and the previous one... I certainly don't get through books that quickly. :)

barb said...

woah... allison... i had no idea you were a blogger. i will read your posts when my eyes are not trying to close (not b/c the posts are boring, but i haven't slept in approximately 23.3335 hours)!! so nice to be keeping in touch with you again. let's do get together SOON!

The Cubicle Reverend said...

Holy crow! I can't believe you are trying to read all the Pulitzer winners! that is so cool. I have tried to read all the Noble winners in lit, but many of them are out of print or have never been translated to english

Kimberly Ann said...

this gook sounds really good allison. i think i might have to pick up a copy.