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A Girl of the Limberlost (Library of Indiana Classics) Paperback – September 22, 1984

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About the Author

Gene Stratton-Porter (1863–1924) was an American author, amateur naturalist, wildlife photographer, and one of the earliest women to form a movie studio and production company. She wrote some best-selling novels and well-received columns in national magazines, such as McCalls. Her works were translated into several languages, including Braille, and Stratton-Porter was estimated to have 50 million readers around the world.[1] She used her position and income as a well-known author to support conservation of Limberlost Swamp and other wetlands in the state of Indiana. Her novel A Girl of the Limberlost was adapted four times as a film, most recently in 1990 in a made-for-TV version. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Series: Library of Indiana Classics
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (September 22, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253203317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253203311
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (395 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,077,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 198 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Think of it as a Midwestern Cinderella story, but with no glass slipper and plenty of moths. Gene Stratton Porter was at the peak of her skills when she wrote "A Girl of the Limberlost," which starts off as a young girl's struggle against her mother's virulent hatred -- and soon evolves into an enchanting little romance.

Elnora Comstock has barely signed up for college when she discovers that she can't afford it -- tuition and textbooks cost too much, and her shabby clothes are mocked by her classmates. Even worse, her half-crazy, malicious mother refuses to cough up any money.

But she soon finds that she can pay another way -- a strange lady called the Bird Woman is willing to pay money for moths, butterflies, caterpillars and chrysalids, which Elnora can easily find in a vast dangerous swamp called the Limberlost. And her friends Margaret and Wesley are happy to help her in any way they can -- clothes, a violin -- until the day when Mrs. Comstock comes to a shocking realization about her daughter.

Then Elnora encounters a wealthy young man named Philip Ammon, who has the same love of nature that she has -- as well as a wealthy socialite fiancee named Edith. But when a party in honor of Edith and Philip's engagement is wrecked by a butterfly and a fit of jealousy, he begins to realize what his true feelings for Elnora are...

"A Girl of the Limberlost" can be divided into two sections -- the first is a Cinderellaesque story about a strong, intelligent young girl who is pursing her music and education, despite her nasty old mother's loathing of her. But once that storyline is wrapped up, the second half of the book becomes a haunting, passionate love story.
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By JF on October 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
A lovely early 20th century book about a girl who lives in a rural area, catching rare moths to put herself through high school. This book is perfect for a girl in her young teens- an innocently romantic tale that focuses a on girl's growing understanding of her own role in the world. While the book's language and setting might seem outdated to some, the theme and plot are timeless classics.

This is a book that I have loved reading and re-reading for the past 20 years, since I was about 13 years old.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I've read this book every few years or so since I was 10(I'm now 60) the first copy being my grandmother's. One is transported into a different world, one where goals were clearer . Elnora's struggles can be related to by any girl today, and her triumph is purely her own. A lovely theme in the book allows each character to come to life as a caterpillar, spend a time in a cocoon, them emerge finally as a beautiful moth. Elnora's mother's transformation is particularly splendid. The ecological concerns of the novel convince the reader that our "modern" problems are mere variations on a theme. The reverence for hard work, creativity, and strict moral standards are refreshing.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By D. Summerfield on March 31, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Elnora Comstock, the plucky, resourceful heroine of this classic novel, first published in 1909, is a character who is still relevant and fascinating for today's readers. "A Girl of the Limberlost" was one of my favorite books as a girl, and it was one of my mother's and my grandmother's favorites. Like other timeless literary heroines who overcome great odds to achieve happiness (such as Anne of "Anne of Green Gables" and Jo of "Little Women"), Elnora is eternally fiesty, admirable and loveable.

When the novel opens, Elnora is determined to attend the high school in a nearby township. Her neglectful, sometimes abusive mother, Katharine, is equally determined to discourage her and ruin her dreams. Elnora and Katharine live in a cabin on the edge of the great Limberlost swamp, a place of wonder and danger, located three miles from the township where Elnora wants to go to school. The hard, cold Katharine is haunted by the death of her husband on the very day Elnora was born. She blames her only child for the death of her beloved husband because her birth kept Katharine from having the strength to aid her husband when he was drowning in the swamp.

On the first day of high school, Elnora's tacky clothes and inability to fit in with the snooty mean girls, along with the fact that she learns she will needs an unexpected amount of money for books and tuition leads her to brief despair. But her own ingenuity, along with the help of a loving neighbor couple, Margaret and Wesley Sinton, solve some of Elnora's problems.

I love the many intricate details in this book about Elnora's life in a rural early twentieth century world. For instance, the Sintons purchase clothing and accessories so that Elnora can fit in with her classmates.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Diane Walters on September 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Elnora's mother holds a grudge! And, she just won't let go. Elnora does everything she can to please her mother, but try as she may--nothing works. Her mother just can't let go of the emotional pain of having lost her husband when Elnora was born. The child is just too much of a reminder of what she could have had in her life if he had lived.

Life was hard in 1909. Money was tight. Even though Elnora's mother could sell some of the timber on the land (and be set for life) she refuses to do it. Again, it's that old nagging reminder of her husband and why they bought this place to build a life. It's a living memorial in her mind. She won't hand over a pittance to Elnora--not even for clothes to go to school.

The plucky teenager won't let that stop her. She wants ever so much to go to school. Her whole heart is wrapped up in that dream. The first day, her mother sends her off intentionally in clothes that look ridiculous on her. Of course, she is teased and ostracized from all the girls for looking silly in her old fashioned clothes and her clunky boots. Most girls would clam up and not go back to school. But, not Elnora! She is so determined to succeed. She is determined to find "some way" to make this work. And, that is when things begin to change in her family.

From the time she was quite young, Elnora had been collecting butterflies and moths from the forested swamps around her house. The Limberlost had been her playground and refuge; and, she cultivated a wonderful love of nature that was quite unusual for girls of that time period. With a deep passion and ingenuity, she comes up with a plan to not only get the money for school, new clothes, and books, but also to mend her mother's broken heart.
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