Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Member of the Wedding - Carson McCullers

Product Details Frankie is a girl who doesn't know who she is, still young enough to be sure that her brother and his new wife will take her with them after their wedding, which she is looking forward to, and old enough to have caught the eye of a soldier in town.  She is a little girl one moment and wants to be totally grown up the next.  Her father is never home until bedtime, her mother died at Frankie's birth, and she is not a member of the "club" that girls in her class have formed for the holidays.  So she spends time with John Henry, her little cousin, and Berenice, the black help, who is around all day and most of every evening.  The story, short but powerful, takes place over a very short few weeks, and tells so well the "between times" of adolescence - the not knowing who you are, not knowing how to explain the feelings you have, not knowing how to put into words your thoughts.
At 190 pages, you could whip through this very quickly, but that would be a shame.  Take time to savour each page, for to me it was a revelation.  I have never read any of Carson McCollers, but will do so now.  She was damned with ill health and wrote just a few books and a play.  But you will feel what Frankie felt, you will laugh and cry at Berenice's views of the world at that time (1940's), and you will feel for Frankie when her dreams do not necessarily come true but can be easily forgotten.