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What Ruth does (hang around with her eccentric island friends, fall in love, organize the lobstermen) makes for an engaging book that's all the more charming for its rather lumpy, slow-paced plotting. Gilbert delivers a kind of delicious ethnography of lobster-fishing culture, if such a thing is possible, as well as a love story and a bildungsroman. But best of all, she possesses an ear for the ridiculous ways people communicate. One of Mrs. Pommeroy's young sons, "in addition to having the local habit of not pronouncing r at the end of a word--could not say any word that started with r.... What's more, for a long time everyone on Fort Niles Island imitated him. Over the whole spread of the island, you could hear the great strong fishermen complaining that they had to mend their wopes or fix their wigging or buy a new short-wave wadio."
The beauty of Gilbert's book is that she gives us an isolated rural culture, and refuses to settle for finding humor in its backwardness. Instead she gives us a community of uneducated but razor-sharp wits, and produces an impressive comic debut. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Only the second of Elizabeth Gilbert's books I have read, but I was inspired by how much I enjoyed the first one (A signature of all things). Read morePublished 1 month ago by J.A.Humphries
Too many unanswered questions about Ruth's feelings toward the Ellis family. Why did she dislike so many people? Did everyone suspect she was, in fact, an Ellis by blood? Read morePublished 2 months ago by Arthur Wasser
Very good read!
I am a big E. Gilbert fan. Love the way she writes. Keep em coming Ms. Gilbert. I'm waiting for your next one! Read more
Loved it, up until about page 20, where an unnecessary description of the abusive death of a cat made me abandon it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by L. Ventimiglia
I love the diverse subjects that Elizabeth Gilbert writes about. It's true that at times I had thoughts about where this book was going. Trust me. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lora Hunt
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I had just finished The Signature of All Things, and needed a bit more Elizabeth Gilbert. Stern Men fit the bill. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Heidi Mayo
An eccentric family, living on a small island, filled with people who all know each other is the background. The characters are well drawn and fun to get to know. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Barbara J. Snow