Monday, 26 January 2015

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers (3/5)

First published: 1946
Page count: 163

The back says: Here is the story of the inimitable twelve-year-old Frankie, who is utterly, hopelessly bored with life until she hears about her older brother’s wedding. Bolstered by lively conversations with her house servant, Berenice, and her six-year-old male cousin — not to mention her own unbridled imagination — Frankie takes on an overly active role in the wedding, hoping even to go, uninvited, on the honeymoon, so deep is her desire to be the member of something larger, more accepting than herself.

I say: When I finished reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter I asked myself if I liked McCullers and couldn’t answer. Having finished this I don’t think I do, and the two main reasons are that the prose is so unpredictable; some passages are magical and others are just meh; and all the characters are more or less the same in all of her novels.

This is a coming of age novel about Frankie who is obsessed with her brother’s wedding and the future she plans with the newlywed couple. She is childish and stubborn to the point of being a brat, and I really didn’t like her at all. Add to this the fact that I found everyone else around Frankie more interesting, this became a rather tedious read. Of course, most pre-teens are self-obsessed and think little of the world unless it’s in direct relation to themselves, but with Frankie this was a tad too much.

She was just a tad too much.

My feelings about this novel is in part my own fault because I read this directly after finishing The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and because there are such similarities between the two young girls, Frankie felt like a bad copy of Mick Kelly. Because of my inability to separate the two – and all the other similar characters; the father, the little brother, the maid - I appear to have missed some of the deeper issues addressed.

Or maybe I just didn’t care.

Either way, 3/5.

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