Book: My Antonia by Willa Cather
Date Read: April 14, 2015 to May 15, 2015
Rating: 4 (of 5) stars
If I was being completely honest, that should be a much larger date range up there. I started this book for a US History class when I was in high school – I’m going to estimate and say that it was probably around… October 2001. Most of the class was unenthused about reading in general, and we only made it through the first section. I had thought about going back and finishing it many times, but just never seemed to get to it. Then, nearly 15 years later, I decided to participate in a reading challenge which included “a book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t” and “a book you started but never finished.” This was literally the only book I could think of that fit into those categories.
Upon finally finishing this book, I was quite pleased that I had come back to it. In keeping with my apparent tradition of delay with this book, I am writing and posting a review for it nearly three years after reading it. Perhaps this isn’t quite fair to the book. I do not know that I can truly give it justice in a review when it is not fresh in my mind. However, I think the fact that this book is one that stuck in my mind as something I could easily write about this long after the fact speaks to it’s quality. While the details of the story are perhaps fuzzy, it is one that has stuck with me.
There is a passage near the end of the book that particularly struck me when I was reading. For full disclosure, I finished this book in tears… on an airplane… sitting next to a stranger. Something about this passage hit me hard at that moment. I wrote it down then, feeling that it was something that needed to be kept and revisited. I shared it on the blog I was writing at the time, on Goodreads, and now here:
‘Do you know, Antonia, since I’ve been away, I think of you more often than anyone else in this part of the world. I’d have liked to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister – anything that a woman can be to a man. The idea of you is a part of my mind; you influence my likes and dislikes, all my tastes, hundreds of times when I don’t realize it. You really are a part of me.’
She turned her bright eyes to me, and the tears came up in them slowly, ‘How can it be like that, when you know so many people, and when I’ve disappointed you so? Ain’t it wonderful, Jim, how much people can mean to each other? I’m so glad we had each other when we were little…’
Boris’s thoughts: “I don’t remember this one. Fake!! 1 paw.”