Book Review: Heaven’s My Destination by Thornton Wilder

Eh! Not the best Thornton Wilder I ever read, but was
recommended as –get this –one of “Sixty Enduring Novels
by Americans Published Between 1926-1986.”

So, I read it–so that I could check it off the list!  I have read Thornton
Wilder before, of course.  I have read Our Town a couple of times,
The Bridge of San Luis Rey twice(and put a star by it) and The Eighth
Day (with a star) and Theophilus North (with a star by it).  But Heaven’s
My Destination won’t be getting a star.

George Brush is a traveling salesman who is a goody-two-shoes sort of
a fellow–in the 1930s, during the Depression–and although it’s supposed
to be “hilarious” I guess I wasn’t in the mood.

George hasn’t much luck with girls, nor people in general really, for he’s
always lecturing them—and being misunderstood.  Circumstances
sometimes land him in jail when he’s really just trying to do what’s right.

Girls get his drift early, and spurn him.  When he’s ordering dinner at
The Rising Sun Chop Suey Palace, he asks the sullen waitress:
“What’s specially good?”
“T’s all wonderful.”
“Is there anything here that’s a favorite of yours?”
“I like’m all.  I’m crazy about’m all,” replied the girl, cooly, scratching
her head with the pencil.  “Everyone of’m’ll give you a great big thrill
you’ll never forget.”

When his landlady tells him that Father Pasziewski knows of him–and
prays for him, he’s astounded.  His heart stops beating.

Queenie added: “You’re on the Friday list.  I’m on the Tuesday list.”

And one time when he’s in jail, waiting for a hearing so he can explain
the unusual circumstances of his arrest, he “strode energetically about
the yard and did some hygienic bending” . . . Now, what in the world
could THAT be??

Published in 1935, quite dated, picks up in last fourth of the book–good
enough to keep interest to finish.  Just a little disappointing from an
author I really like.  On the other hand, you might like it.  And then
YOU could check it off the list, too.

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2 Responses to Book Review: Heaven’s My Destination by Thornton Wilder

  1. Booksilver says:

    I think “hygienic bending” is a kind of calisthenics popular in the early part of the 20th century.

    Which Lucia book was it, where Lucia was supposed to be confined to bed with some dread illness, and instead she sneaked out to her back lawn to do bends and calisthenics, which Mapp (or ???) discovered by spying on her from a nearby window?

    • booksandbuttons says:

      Ha! Nothing gets past the neighbors in Tilling! I don’t
      remember that particular scene, . . .SO I’ll just have to
      reread the series—hurray!

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