Book Review: A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

This is an old-fashioned read, most likely written for the young
adult market and published in 1909.   “All rights reserved”,  the
copyright page reads “including that of translation into Foreign
Languages, including the Scandinavian.”   

So, if you were thinking of copying this book (423 pages) and
selling it in Norway, Denmark or Sweden, Finland or Iceland,
your hopes have been dashed!

A friend loaned me this book—one that has been in her family, so I
tried to read it carefully–the binding starting to go–no peanut butter
sandwiches allowed while reading, etc.

Any girl would enjoy the opening scenes when Elnora—you’ve guessed
it—a girl of the limberlost,  leaves her farming homestead and goes to
her first day of high school in the nearby city.  Her clothes aren’t right,
her shoes aren’t right, her hair isn’t right—aaargh.  But she’s a brave
little snippet and she outshines the other kids with her math skills,
and after a while becomes friends with them.

Elnora (why do I keep singing “EL-VIRA!” in my mind?)—Elnora is
being raised by her mother, but the mother is still deeply affected by
the death of her husband the day little E was born.

He died by slipping accidentally in the quagmire of the limberlost, and
ended up in quicksand!

Where does all of this take place you ask?  Canada?  no, that’s Prince
Edward Island and Anne of Green Gables  you’re thinking of.  This takes
place in Indiana!  Who would think?

I’ll tell you one more thing about the book and then you can go ahead
and read it on your own.  Elnora and her mother are poor—and going
to high school, and hopefully on to college is a dream that Elnora has,
but the mother doesn’t share.  And the high school costs money–along
with book expenses.  Elnora has the fortunate trait of knowing all about
moths—and collects them and is able to sell them to collectors.  Be on
the lookout yourself for the Yellow Emperor which is the most valuable
of all.  (I’m warning you, though, the best way to catch it if you find one
is to let it sit on your fingers . . .)

There is a love interest—-with a young man, can you believe it?– ALSO
interested and knowledgeable about moths!   And subsequent problems.
There is even the threat of the “Corson gang”.

There are a lot of nice passages about nature–told through Elnora’s
conversations—talking trees, the birds’ songs and so forth.   My copy
had a few black and white illustrations by Wladyslaw T. Benda
and they were a welcome sight occasionally.

illustration by Wladyslaw T. Benda from novel A Girl of the Limberlost

illustration by Wladyslaw T. Benda from novel A Girl of the Limberlost






The book is too long, but I had to laugh when
Gene S-P, on page 177 wrote (about high school)
so the first year went, and the second and third
were a repetition; but the fourth was different.”


There! that took care of those long pesky high school years—to get on to
the more adult themes!     In closing, the book is pleasant to read for a
few evenings, reading about life when it was simpler maybe.
There is a quiet plot, and you assume that things will iron themselves
out satisfactorily at the end.

a girl of the limberlost 005




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2 Responses to Book Review: A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

  1. Booksilver says:

    How lucky for her, to find a fellow moth-follower!

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