I put the title in ALL CAPS because I’ve finally read another book and frankly I’m too happy about it.  I feel like its another step towards reclaiming my life from the doldrums.  Not only did I finish one, I’m half way through another and its possible I’ve finally found a good combination of “free” and “easy access” that will make reading return to my life in a truly regular fashion.

Get this:  you can check out Kindle books from the library…. from the comfort of your living room.

All I have to do is log onto the local library website and click whatever they have available and there boom, wirelessly delivered to the ole iPad.

Only slight downside – the selection is limited.  But apparently not too limited eh?  I have a 3rd book in my queue.

First things first:  The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty

Who lives in Mississippi for practically 30 years yet has never read a book by Eudora Welty?  Yep, that’s me.  To make matters worse, the dear woman has been following my around nearly my whole life.  In elementary school, high school, my neighborhood growing up, here around Jackson, Eudora is everywhere.  On auditoriums, libraries, scholarships, symposiums…

I saw that there was an available copy of “The Optimist’s Daughter”, instantly realized my deficiency, and that was that.

Its a short book and yet a masterpiece.  Heck, it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972.  My take was that it was basically a character study, showing you all the little details that make up the different characters’ personalities.  And an enjoyable read for sure.  I didn’t exactly LOVE it but lets face it, I’m no literary scholar.

Eudora was ridiculously accurate in her portrayal of small town Mississippi life.  EXCEPT, in one cases, I felt like the characters were a little off.. a little unbelievable…

The story is about Laurel, a lady in her mid-forties dealing with her father’s sudden illness and death, her father’s new wife, her mother’s death 12 years before, her spouse’s death after just a few months of marriage.  Yes, Laurel has a lot on her plate.  The father’s new wife Fay (Texas trailer trash about the same age as Laurel) is a real piece of work and she’s the unbelievable one.  Her character is rotten to the core – unbelievably so.  I don’t care how rotten or trashy a Southern woman is, she doesn’t insult everyone around her blatantly, at all times.  Underhanded snippy comments?  Oh sure.  In your face rudeness?  Here and there but not every single sentence.  And to top that off, everyone around her handles her so carefully, basically just taking all her crap.  They gossip about her vaguely a bit when she’s not around but seem take it all with smiles otherwise.  That’s not realistic either.  Maybe in 1972 things were different.

And the father?  The spoke of the wheel, connecting all these characters together?  I never did figure him out.  If he was such a great guy, why did he marry such an awful lady and leave her everything he had?

I have no business critiquing any writing more advanced than “Prudence Goes Potty” and I don’t mean to criticize anyway so I’ll stop now.  I liked the book. I felt more Mississippian for reading it.  Its just that I don’t exactly know what to say about it, or what its purpose was, or what I’m supposed to take away from it.  Maybe I need to go read some cliffsnotes.  Maybe I’ll just go download some more Eudora and see if I can uncover any themes.

And one additional question remains:  My e-checkout period is 14 days but I have no CLUE how to check the book back in.  Wonder if I accrue late fees?  Do I just delete it from my kindle app?  If I delete it, will I get an email at the end of the checkout period asking for the book back??



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About Mary-Hall

loyal southerner, exceedingly frugal, compulsive DIYer
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