Lives of Girls and Women
This is a classic from a noble winning writer from southwest Ontario. It is a treasure to know that we can have such a great writer right here in our own backyards.
This book was first published in the 1970’s, and it has been on the curriculum of many an English course at high schools right across our region. It is a book that girls love and that boys love to read as well because of how well the story is crafted and how original and honest it is.
This is the only novel by Alice Munro. Usually she writes short stories. But this novel captures very well what a great writer she really is. The book is autobiographical in form but not in fact. It chronicles a young girl’s growing up in rural Ontario in the 1940’s and all the trials and tribulations the ensue as a result of this.
Del Jordan lives out at the end of the Flats Road on her father’s fox farm, where her most frequent companions are an eccentric bachelor family friend and her rough young brother. When she begins spending more time in town, she is surrounded by women–her mother, an agnostic, opinionated woman who sells encyclopedias to local farmers, her mother’s border, the lusty Fern Dogherty, and her best friend, Naomi, with whom she shares the frustrations and unbridled glee of adolescence.
Through these mentors, and in her own encounters with sex, birth and death, Del explores the dark and bright sides of womanhood. All along she remains a wise, witty observer and recorder of truths in small-town life. The result of this combination is a powerful, moving, and humorous demonstration of Alice Munro’s un-parallel awareness of the lives of girls and women.
Rating: 5+ stars
Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth