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Show Boat Hardcover – Large Print, 1981
While You Were Mine
Everything she loved could so easily be lost. Learn More
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“An irresistible story. . . . Gorgeously romantic. . . . Spirited, full-breasted, tireless. . . . With Show Boat Miss Ferber establishes herself . . . as one of those who are reviving first-rate story-telling.”
—The New York Times
“No one tells so well as Edna Ferber the story of the American people in their various backgrounds. . . . It is a gift, a lovely gift, and no one uses her talents more delightfully than Edna Ferber.”
—William Allen White --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story concerns three generations of women: Parthenia Hawks, a ram-rod upright New Englander who heartily disapproves of her husband's decision to purchase a show boat and involve the family with actors, God forbid; her daughter Magnolia, whose fresh beauty eventually propells her fame as one of the most popular actresses on the river; and her granddaughter Kim, who becomes a Broadway star. But the backbone of the story concerns Magnolia's ill-fated love for ne'er-do-well gambler Gaylord Ravenal, a love that tests her strength to the last degree. Just as Magnolia has to change to meet her constantly shifting circumstances, so is the nation changing around her, gradually shifting from a rather innocent, rural society to a much more hardened and sophistocated urban world.Read more ›
The so-called "modernist" tradition is one that casts suspicion upon any narrative that might be termed "melodramatic" in its plotting, tone and style. It's true that Ferber plays out the emotions of her characters, but she's equally adept at keeping those emotions in play. Her voice is so vital and strong, her narrative so multilayered in its social-psychological-cultural-archetypal meanings, that an open-minded reader cannot fail to become swept up in the force of her storytelling. Moreover, in her characterization of Magnolia, who defends her unstable marriage against her daughter's staid one and who prefers the tenderloin districts to the churches and parks of Chicago, Ferber reveals the subversiveness of a true artist, making the reader question common assumptions about the dual gods of "success" and "progress."
The river and the theater are not only Ferber's favorite settings but her metaphors for exploring the life of consciousness and explaining the forces that shape personality. Even when Gaylord and Magnolia abandon the river and take up residence in Chicago, the river lives in them, exposing by its constantly-felt presence what is alive and dead, what is enduring and transitory.Read more ›
It is the source of the famous stage and movie musical and anyone who has enjoyed those versions will love this book.
However, the novel, is much richer in scope and ultimately more moving than the musical. The ending has hung with me for days since I finished reading it. In 1927 Oscar Hammerstein II felt the public would not accept a musical in which many of the main charachters died before the end (as they do in the novel). And for the times, perhaps he was right. But it is a shame because the musical could have had even more impact if he had been able to stay closer to his source.
I highly recommend this book.
Those are the bare bones of this book's first half. They do not begin to describe the vividly portrayed characters, or the rich sense of time and place that Ferber's writing conveys. The book's second half, which deals with Magnolia and Gaylord and their daughter after they leave the Cotton Blossom, is just as rich; but it is a bittersweet richness. An era is passing into history, and Ferber tells that story with immediacy that makes it fresh reading although this book was first published in 1926. A classic for good reason!
--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of the "High Places" series from Write Words
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Few people remember that Edna Ferber wrote the novel which Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein turned into a hit musical -- a musical that Ferber admired but that departs... Read morePublished 1 month ago by HH
... And it's s big "but." To enjoy this you have to be ready to overlook the overt racist prose. This book is of another time when it was acceptable to express casual condescending... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is one of my favorite musicals and hope this will read well.Published 6 months ago by Joann C. Supulski
Well, you can't beat Edna Ferber! This is literature, so poetically written, each character, an individual clearly in his/her own right. A lovely unconditional love story. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lorraine G. Danza
I'm always surprised at the ways the movie differ from the original book. This was no exception. The book was in great condition and arrived when it was supposed to. Thanks.Published 13 months ago by Shirley Randall
I read this book dozens of times as a child and young teenager it was inspiring.Published 21 months ago by mae mae
This is a classic I had never read and now wish I had read a long time ago. I found it to start off slowly and end very quickly. Read morePublished 22 months ago by skywriter
A very good Ferber story... I was interested in the book because the musical is one of my favorites. Read morePublished on March 17, 2014 by edward f, livsey