Desert Isle Keeper
A Girl Of The Limberlost
A Girl of the Limberlost is a book that I have read over and over and over again, despite the fact that no one could call it a great book. Even I, who love it to death, have to admit it is very sweet and just a little too sentimental sometimes. So, why do I love it so? Well, Gene Stratton Porter was a noted amateur naturalist and one of the pioneering nature photographers in the United States. When Mrs. Porter began to write novels, she poured her love for, and knowledge of, nature into all of them. It is the nature writing in A Girl of the Limberlost that overcomes all of the book’s defects and makes it a keeper for me.
A Girl of the Limberlost is a story about a young woman named Elnora Comstock. She lives with her widowed mother in a small house near the Limberlost swamp. Mrs. Comstock is sour and embittered. Her husband was lost to a sinkhole in the swamp, but because she was giving birth to Elnora at the time, could do nothing to save him. She treats Elnora with contempt and cruelty, and if it were not for the kindly neighbors, Elnora’s life would be totally unbearable.
Elnora collects moths from the swamp and sells them to collectors to pay for her expenses. Her mother will not help her and Elnora is truly on her own. The descriptions of poor country-girl Elnora’s first day in school, where her clothing is all wrong and she is lost and bewildered by it all, still are touching. Elnora is a strong-minded and brave young woman who perseveres, studies hard, and sells enough moths and nature artifacts to outfit herself with suitable clothing for her high school career. She graduates first in her class.
Elnora’s relationship with her mother comes to a head when Mrs. Comstock crushes a rare moth that would have been the last Elnora needed to complete a collection worth $300.00. Elnora explodes and lashes out at her mother, and their next-door-neighbor finally tells Mrs. Comstock the truth about her husband. Mrs. Comstock and Elnora mend their relationship and grow close to each other.
During the summer, Elnora meets a rich young man named Phillip Ammon, who is in the neighborhood recovering from an illness. A deep friendship develops between them. Phillip is a kind and warm-hearted young man who is engaged to a rich and spoiled society woman named Edith. After Phillip recovers and returns home, he can’t help but compare Edith to Elnora, to the detriment of Edith. When Edith throws a temper fit at a ball, Philip realizes that Elnora is the woman he loves, and he sets out to woo her.
A Girl of the Limberlost was first published in 1910, it has a timeless quality about it, and is remarkably undated. Elnora is a wonderfully depicted character – so vivid and real that she is one of my very favorite female characters. A Girl of the Limberlost is still in print, and Mrs. Porter’s home in Indiana is a state historical shrine.
|Review Date:||June 3, 1998|
|Book Type:||Classic Fiction | Fiction|
|Review Tags:||1910s | classic | Classic Fiction | cross-class lovers | Indiana|