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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Optimists Daughter: A Novel

Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter was a lovely holiday read. My sister had a copy that I snatched up to keep me away from my family because they were driving me nuts enjoy.

A young woman comes south to be with her father at a doctor's appointment about the father's eye. What her very young stepmother believes is a simple briar scratch is more likely a detached retina and will require major surgery. Recovery is much more difficult than originally assumed and it does not take long for the father to pass on from this world, leaving his daughter navigate the funeral and his estate in her hometown with her stranger of a stepmother.

This novel was a beautiful piece of work. (Well duh, you are probably thinking, it did win the Pulitzer!) Welty has such a way with prose that makes you feel as though you are a member of the family, or a visiting friend and that you are actually there witnessing the events, even those as private as the emotional take-down of the stepmother. I shuddered in embarrassment when the stepmother's small-town Texan relatives came, how out of place they were! How awkward those moments were for the daughter and her friends!

This was not a very long book and was perfect for sneaking away during the vacation to get some peace and quiet, and maybe even disappear into someone else's world.


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