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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pulitzer Prize Winner
Without a doubt, _So Big_ is the best of all Edna Ferber's novels, and it was awarded the 1924 Pulitzer prize. It contains a strong portrayal of early 20th century midwestern agricultural life, which Ferber borrowed from her observations as a young women in Appleton, Wisconsin.
_So Big_ is the story of Dirk DeJong, and his mother Selina. After a colorful and...
Published on August 25, 2000 by Pamela

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It was okay, nothing i would recommend
It sounded better than it was but wasn't badly written. It just did not make look forward to reading it and had a strange abrupt ending.
Published 5 months ago by C. Snead


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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pulitzer Prize Winner, August 25, 2000
By 
Pamela (Dubuque, IA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: So Big (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
Without a doubt, _So Big_ is the best of all Edna Ferber's novels, and it was awarded the 1924 Pulitzer prize. It contains a strong portrayal of early 20th century midwestern agricultural life, which Ferber borrowed from her observations as a young women in Appleton, Wisconsin.
_So Big_ is the story of Dirk DeJong, and his mother Selina. After a colorful and tragic girlhood, she arrived as a schoolteacher in a Dutch farming community south of Chicago. She didn't quite fit in with the narrow-minded farmers and their overworked wives, yet she married a handsome farmer with notoriously unproductive land.
After his early death, she spends the next decades finding a market and coaxing a crop to grow in soggy land. By the time Dirk grows up, the "DeJong asparagus" is a success, and it enables his banking career. Yet he loses a sense of empathy and beauty, which Selina retains, despite her difficult path in life.
Ferber is the author who wrote _Show Boat_ and _Giant_. She could grind out popular dramatic fiction with loads of stock characters in a sentimentalized historic setting. But her later work loses the art found in _So Big_, which is peopled with multi-dimensional characters and a story which touches the reader's heart.
I highly recommend this book.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excelent and inspiring Pulitzer Prize winning novel, January 7, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: So Big (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
I loved this book. I am currently reading through the Pulitzer Prize winning novels and this is one of my favorites to date! The story reminds one of who you want to be - one who is strong, principaled and loving. The main charachter is a woman who faces virtually every challange that life has to offer and who still remains an individual of hope and direction. I thought that the novel was inspiring. The prose and the themes were engaging and very readable. The book reminds us to push on an be the people that we know that we can be.
A great inspiring book - read it.
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61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Single motherhood at the turn of the last century, December 13, 2000
This review is from: So Big (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
An interesting story of a woman's life and her struggle to raise her only son and teach him what is valuable in life. The Story is set in the late 1800 and early 1900's in rural and urban Chicago. The author called it "a book about cabbages..." but really, it's a story about Selina DeJong, orphaned as a young, wealthy child, who struggles to make a life for herself and her only child Dirk whom she has nicknamed "sobig". She marries a dolt for a husband and begins to work on a farm. Her husband is a small man with a small brain and is afraid of his own shadow which limits and frustrates Selina and keeps her from accomplishing anything for many years. Fortunately, her husband suffers an accidental death and she is fianlly able to make some necessary improvements which allow her son (who otherwise would have been a cabbage farmer his whole life) to attend college in the city. He succeeds in college, but when he gets out he sacrifices his dream profession(architecture) to make a lot of money doing something boring in finance, and in doing so, he misses the point his mother tried to teach him about success. (i.e. that money doesn't equal it.) This is a really good book with a wonderful and inspiring ending. If the whole book had been as good as the last couple chapters, I would have given it five stars easily. Although "So Big" isn't a famous book, Edna Ferber made it big with most of her others... You may have heard of a couple of them... "Giant" from which the Rock Hudson, James Dean film was made, and "Showboat", which was made into a sprawling musical. (My head aches just to think about it).
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story Stays With Me, January 18, 2004
By 
tzefirah "tzefirah" (Media, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: So Big (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
I read So Big literally decades ago, and the story has stuck with me through all that time.
Selina DeJong's positive and hard working attitude is inspirational. Ferber does her justice in the end, when Selina achieves "gravitas," the state of being satisfied with her life and wise in old age.
Typically, her son doesn't appreciate what his mother has given him until his is older and can see her through his girlfriend's eyes. Suddenly she becomes clear to him as a heroine.
This story even inspired me to each vegetables more! I can only hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pulitzer Prize winning Agrarian Lit, October 8, 2006
By 
This review is from: So Big (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
In the early pages of So Big we learn that So Big is the nickname of Dirk DeJong, a young man who has long outgrown the childhood name from his mother, Selina. At this point I figure that the novel would be about the title character, but So Big is really about his mother Selina. Selina takes a job as smalltown schoolteacher in Illinois knowing that in two years she will be eligible to work in a city school and be better paid (the novel is set in the late 1800's). In High Prairie Selina finds out that she is nothing like the hardworking and hard lives of the farmers and farming families of the town. High Prairie is an education for her and when she surprisingly marries one of the farmers her life is ultimately linked to the town and the farming life, one which she never would have anticipated. She hopes, of course, for a better life for her son and struggles to do the best she can for him.

So Big won the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is a fine novel of argrarian literature. Edna Ferber does well in capturing the hard lives of the farmers without either idealizing their struggle nor demeaning their lives. Literature of this sort (such as A Thousand Acres, which also won the Pulitzer) is strangely appealing to me since I have no real ties to the farming life and have never worked on a farm, but when written well it comes across with great passion and compassion in a novel.

-Joe Sherry
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Born and raised in the High Prairie, September 21, 2006
This review is from: So Big (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
Most of my ancestors came to the area of "High Prairie in the 1800-1890's, of Dutch and German origin. Without a doubt, Ms. Ferber wrote accurately about the time, place and people and some of those same names are still around in the "Low Prairie". This book is beautifully written and I have a wonderful "view" of what the area was like back then and how my ancestors lived. Excellent book I would highly recommed. Clear, sweet and simply an enjoyable book!! Should be recommended reading in our schools!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prairie Courage, January 16, 2000
With the death of her father when she is 19, idealistic and poetical Selina finds herself working as a prairie school teacher. She falls in love with a farmer, marries, gives birth to a son, and is widowed in short succession. Selina finds farming desperately hard work, and she expends every effort possible towards ensuring that life will be better for her boy. What happens to both of them as he grows up is the subject of this book, So Big. I loved this book as a sample of what life was like in bygone years, and an encouraging story to always be true to your inner values. I've read this book several times.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beauty of So Big, May 9, 2006
This review is from: So Big (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
So Big lets one see what true beauty really is. Beauty is not found in riches and makeup, but in living one's life to the fullest and not following the crowd. So Big also demonstrates that true success will not be found in having a fancy house and a good car, but in working hard to accomplish one's goals. This is a book that will show one what life really is about.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless message, August 23, 2000
This review is from: So Big (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
Edna Ferber's book is touching and timeless. The themes of money, working hard, family, and real "living" are as appropriate today as when the book was written. You can't help but be taken in by the inspirational story of Selina Peake...don't miss it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read., April 16, 2004
By 
"arysta1" (gastonia, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: So Big (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
I throughly enjoyed ths book. It was the second Ferber novel I had read, and truly, I don't think there are many that top this one. I laughed, I cried. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in meeting an incredible woman who takes what she gets in life and makes the best that she can. A truly compelling novel.
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So Big (Perennial Classics)
So Big (Perennial Classics) by Edna Ferber (Paperback - August 22, 2000)
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