by Edna Ferber; Doubleday, Page & Company.; Country Life Press.; Rouben Mamoulian Collection (Library of Congress) Book : Fiction  |  1st ed
Enjoy the little things in life. It might be all there is.   (2011-08-03)
Selina Peake is only nineteen when her father, a gambler, is killed. She surprises her friends by not moving to Vermont to live with her two aunts. Instead, she shows her independence and desire to be self sufficient by taking a job as a teacher in the Dutch school in High Plains, outside of Chicago.
The time is in the late 1880s and there aren't many luxuries on the farms, no tractors or automobiles to get the goods to the market.
On her first outing, she makes a picnic lunch and puts it in a small box, tied by a ribbon. Most of the women make big baskets and the men bid on the baskets and then get to eat the food with the woman who prepared it.
The auctioneer ridicules Selina's small box but when the bidding starts one farmer wins with an exhorbitant amount. Purvis DeJong tells her that he felt badly when people began laughing. He admits that he's had no schooling so she offers to teach him.
During these lessons Pervus receives book learning and Selina learns about farm life. They develop feelings toward each other and these very different people marry.
The author describes farm life at the turn of the century and when tragedy strikes and Selina takes over the farm, she is again, in a place where few women venture. She runs the farm and tries to modernize it, as the country is becoming more modern.
Her son Dirk has a nice relationship to his mother who did everything for him to ensure that he had books and literature in his life and got more from life than she did.
This is a well written novel about America at the turn of the century and how life on the farm and in manufacturing was changing. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1924.
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