59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest novels ever written!
It is not hard to see why this modern masterpiece was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1938. It was made into a classic movie starring Gregory Peck as Penny Baxter and was illustrated by the legendary N.C Wyeth. They would not have exhausted their immense talents on a mediocre book (as some of the reviews have expressed- were they reading the same book as me?)...
Published on March 22, 2006 by Dan T
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Yearling
My Review of the Yearling
Do you enjoy reading books that involve suspense, thrilling hunting chases, conflict, and love? Then The Yearling is the right book for you. The Yearling's main characters are Jody, Ma (Ory), and Pa (Penny) Baxter. The Baxter family farms for a living and they barely get by with the meager rations they obtain from their crops and...
Published on May 12, 2003 by nick nendel
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest novels ever written!,
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It is not hard to see why this modern masterpiece was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1938. It was made into a classic movie starring Gregory Peck as Penny Baxter and was illustrated by the legendary N.C Wyeth. They would not have exhausted their immense talents on a mediocre book (as some of the reviews have expressed- were they reading the same book as me?).
The story is beautifully crafted and it flows effortlessly. The homespun language is quaint and is perfect for the book (which is set in the late 1800s). The author knew the intricacies of nature in Florida and described it with exactness and beauty. There are many sections of the book that are filled with warm humor and lightheartedness. The deep closeness between the father and son is touching as well as the love between the husband and wife.
Life was a tough stuggle then and it is brought out with great skill. Rawlings was a master of timing and decriptions.
(For those high school students who were forced to read the book- read it again in ten years. I felt the same way about "To Kill A Mockingbird". In high school I hated it. Later in life- I loved it. Maturity adds a lot to any book).
There is one aspect of the book that is a little hard to believe- grown men getting up in the middle of the night to play their music on guitars and so forth- stark naked- in front a of a young neighbor- but that is only thing in the entire novel.
N.C. Wyeth's illustrations are perfect for the story. His use of strong directional lighting is fabulous. I would recommend the Scribner Classic (hardcover)with his illustrations in it.
Rawlings lived in the heart of the Florida woods in the winter time and was a keen observer of nature and men. I think I learned more about hunting from this book than from any other source.
Because this book lacks sex, extreme violence, aliens or risque humor- perhaps it seems dull to some- but it is for those very reasons that I was enthralled with it. Imagine a book filled with brilliant writing, a complex plot which is weaved by a consummate artist and many secondary adventures all which fortify the plot and without one tinge of cussing!
This book deserves ten stars not five.
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Yearling,
I remember checking The Yearling out of the library when I was 10 or 11. I read the first few pages and was so intimidated by the length of the novel that I returned it to the library two weeks later...unread. My loss. I just finished reading this book and it is a beautiful, poignant, rich story that I will hold in my heart forever. I appreciated Rawlings' detailed descriptions and her extensive character development. I felt like I was really there in the Florida scrub experiencing everything that Jody experienced. Jody's love for Flag is so lovely, touching, beautiful...and familiar. Have you ever had a pet whom you loved more than anyone else in the world and would do anything for? There is no other love like it...it is true devotion. The scene where Jody meets Flag is so enthralling that I wanted to read it over and over. I felt like I knew each character and I became so attached to Jody and Flag and their devoted friendship that I wept in more places than one.
Although I think this is an excellent book for children and adults, I'm not sure that there are many teenagers who will appreciate it. It is a harsh story in places, but it is not so much the harshness that I'm talking about. This book is about a time when people were more at one with nature and life was simple and slow-moving. There are no explosions, no sex, no swearing and no gratuitous violence. I loved the novel for those reasons. To many young people, this may spell "boring". Although I would have loved this story at any time in my life, had I read it when I was a teenager, I would have never had the patience for the rich detail. Now, I savor it. I loved the story for its slow-moving, simplicity and detail and because it was a total break from the warp speed and superficiality of today.
This is actually the best book I've ever read, and definitely the most touching. I can't wait to have children old enough to read it together with them. This is an unforgettable coming-of-age story...I think you have to have come of age yourself to really appreciate the landscape that Jody traverses with his cherished friend and where it brings him. I'm so glad I took the time to read this wonderful book and really savor it. I can't recommend it highly enough.
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, buy why regarded as a "children's" book?,
By A Customer
This is one of the best books I've ever read; the characters are vivid, the story is engrossing, the depiction of life in a remote rural area is authentic. But even though the relationship between a young boy and his pet deer plays a primary role this book does not strike me as being a "children's" book. It is lengthy and contains adult themes more suitable for a book meant for more mature readers. Death, extreme hardship, starvation, attempted murder...this a kiddy story? I dismissed reading this book years ago because I thought, oh well, the story of a boy and his deer, ho hum, not interested. Well, this book has MUCH more depth than that. The review by younger readers who proclaim this book "boring" are not old enough to appreciate it. I would recommend this book to anyone mature enough to understands it's appeal and deeper meaning.
44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life in central Florida.,
This classic novel was written by an author who wrote it at her home a few miles south of Gainesville (in Cross Creek, Florida) and it won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. It is about life in rural central Florida in the second half of the 19th century, being centered around a boy (Jody Baxter), his family, and his pet fawn (Flag). Throughout the novel, the reader sees a boy growing up and having to face some tough decisions. We also learn much about the natural history, environment, folk remedies and beliefs, and culture of rural Florida. We also learn how precarious one's existence is out in the wild. Jody's father, Penny Baxter, has to kill a doe in order to use a folk remedy for a snake bite, not knowing that there is a little fawn nearby. Jody keeps the fawn to raise and to have as a friend. But, as the fawn grows older, problems arise. The author based her main characters loosely (very loosely) on a rural family she knew living in central Florida. Contrary to most reports, this family did not live in Cross Creek. They had a small place deep in the woods in the center of what is now the Ocala National Forest. I decided to see if I could find that site in the late 1980s. It turned out not be difficult at all. Armed with a map of the National Forest, I went on a hike (on some beautiful trails) and found the place. Nothing remains of the house. However, the family burial plot is still there, as are the graves of most of the members of the family. Unfortunately, it is sad to report that a number of the headstones have been stolen. Some of the stones referred to Civil War veterans. As you probably know, such stones draw very good prices on the "black market." The Forest Service had signs posted to warn people against stealing items but, being deep in the woods, they were taken anyway. I'm certain that the people who took the stones have no idea of their literary significance. Perhaps one day the Forest Service or some historical organization will replace the stones, but with all the cutbacks in funding, it'll probably be a long time before that happens.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing blend of drama and realism,
This is a classic that is more special for the portrayal of the subsistence life of the Baxters in the wildlands of Florida in the late nineteenth century, than it is for the tear-jerking climax.
The Baxters consist of pre-teen Jody, his small but sturdy father, Penny, and his ample curmudgeon of a mother, mostly referred to as Ma Baxter. Jody is high on life, as his existence is filled with the wonders of nature and the love of his family. But he feels lonely, too, and when he gets the opportunity to own an orphaned fawn, it seems that his life is suddenly complete. But the long months that follow are full of excitement and drama, underlined by the constant battle against starvation that the Baxters must wage to survive.
It is very exciting and satisfying to read about the life the Baxters lead, where food means life, and a good relationship with one's neighbors can spell the difference between feast and famine. The only neighbors the Baxters have in this case is the Forresters, a large family of large men that alternates between being a source of comfort and of danger. Other than the Forresters, the only human contact comes when a day is spent traveling to town.
The relationships between the characters in this book, presented very realistically and within the context of a whole range of moral issues, are the meat of this story. The readers join Jody in wavering between loving and hating the people around him. This is far closer than most books ever get to real life.
This is also a compelling coming-of-age story, in which Jody moves from boyhood to manhood. After being faced with rattlesnake attacks, devastating floods, death and hunger, he has gained the experience necessary to stomach the world as it is. This loss of childhood is strongly felt, especially when it is seen through the eyes of Penny, who has done nothing but attempt to shelter his son from the harsher side of life.
The story of the yearling fawn itself is less heartbreaking because the book is so realistic. There is no one moment when a child becomes an adult, and we are led to understand that Jody has been shaped by a range of experiences, of which the yearling is only one part.
The stories of outdoor living will be captivating to any nature lovers, and the tough pioneer lifestyle that makes use of everything at hand is likewise interesting. Under constant threat from bear, panther, alligator and wolf, there is an unrelenting pressure on the Baxter family, and we see which human characteristics are necessary to survive life in the wild.
The writing is terrific, particularly in the areas of dialogue and describing natural settings. The plot is meandering, oftentimes throwing a curve ball when you least expect it. This, too, recreates a believable semblance of life.
If you want a book with heart and a satisfying ending that has something to say about the lives we live, pick up The Yearling. You won't be disappointed.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof that Children's literature isn't second class,
Every time someone refers to Children's literature as a genre less worthwhile than general fiction or Children's authors as second-class writers, I bring up this book. The Yearling was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.
The Yearling is a coming of age book set in the hard-scrabble scrub of Florida around the turn of the century. It is filled with the embarrassment and delight felt by a 12-year-old boy named Jody Baxter. One minute, Jody whirls faster and faster, arms held straight from his shoulders like a water-turkey's wings, until he becomes dizzy and drops to the ground, and then the next, he longs to follow his father, mix with men, and learn their ways.
The Florida in this story is as much frontier as was the Wild West. This is a Florida unimagined by all those children who visit Orlando. This is a Florida inhabited by panthers that have cubs with blue spots, by bears that walk upright down the road like men, and by whooping cranes that dance cotillions in the marshes. This is a Florida where one's nearest neighbor lives four miles away, and a family has to work constantly to have enough food to survive another winter.
Jody and each of his parents face these hardships differently. The story begins on a day when Jody is just a boy, addled with April and dizzy with Spring. He is the youngest and only surviving Baxter child. Jody thrived when one frail baby after another had sickened and died, almost as fast as they came. Jody's mother seems to have given "all she had of love and care and interest to those others." Jody's father is "a bulwark for the boy against the mother's sharpness."
"Leave him kick up his heels and run away," the father thinks. "Leave him build his flutter-mills. The day'll come, he'll not even care to."
Jody forgets his work and makes mistakes but his father covers for him. The boy's only problem seems to be loneliness, but even that is eased when his parents allow him to keep an orphaned fawn. The fawn and the boy grow up, becoming yearlings together. By the end of one year, Jody has sat up all night at his best friend's wake, been beaten for helping another friend against three bullies, become enemies with his neighbors over their burning an old woman's home, and tried to run away only to realize there is nowhere else he wants to be. He learns love and disappointment, as well as the fallibility of his father. Jody learns that life is "powerful fine, but 'tain't easy." And knowing all this, Jody enters manhood, leaving childhood. However,
"A mark was on him from [that first April] day's delight, so that all his life, when April was a thin green and the flavor of rain was on his tongue, an old wound would throb and a nostalgia would fill him for something he could not quite remember."
Note on reading level classification:
While this book is listed as a Young Adult Reading Level book, I read the book when I was in the fifth grade and would recommend it to children of that age level or above. While a certain amount of maturity and emotional sophistication is required in order for the reader to fully understand and appreciate the issues raised in the book, my eleven-year-old daughter had no trouble doing so, and in fact, she was deeply moved by the story. Our family read the book aloud to one another during a week's vacation in a log cabin the mountains. It was a wonderful and rare experience to share this book in that remote location with no telephone nor TV to distract us.
Reviewed by Linda Murphy
Children's Editor of the Writers Hood
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome - A true classic,
This book has such great memories for me. I can't wait for my children to be old enough to appreciate this story. I'm sorry the young person who reviewed this before me has such a strong dislike for the story. Yes, it's language is of an un-educated family from the 1930's, but that one of the things that makes this book so rich. We keep our history in books such as this, and we remember coming of age ourselves. Children today don't have a true coming of age, there is nothing truly memorable to bring thim into adulthood, what a shame.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Feel Sorry for the So-Called "Kids" and Teens of the 1 Star,
I originally wasn't planning to write another review for amazon.com, but the movie of "The Yearling" was on TV last night. Remembering how it touched me, especially the sorrowful end, I decided to take a look at the reviews posted here.
Most were brilliant, right to the point, and then I saw "kid's review" and a few others that found the book boring.
Sorry, children, that in an age of Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan, not to mention strumpets like Britney and Jessica Simpson you don't have the chance to come of age. Or to appreciate a classic, moving read. Yes, we're an image and media-driven society, and the negative effect of it all falls on these kids who not only hate a classic, but can't even write why they hate it in a meaningful review.
This the price we are paying when our kids can't feel struggle, pity, or hurt.
"The Yearling" was a very realistic tale of the life of a poor American family struggling to make ends meet in late 19th Century Florida, and of a boy who like many today, doesn't understand that there is bitter besides the sweet in life - especially when it comes to the loss of a beloved pet. I can only wish that some of the sorry weirdos who have recently murdered schoolchildren or another weirdo denizen of Florida had read this book, or the Twain and Jack London classics when they were children. They might have learned something good and moral beyond the twisted thoughts that they came of age with.
This book, along with the aforementioned Twain and London classics, "Uncle Tom's Cabin", and Bill Bennett's "Book of Virtues" should belong on the bookshelf of any and all American mid-and upper-elementary school age children.
I teach 6th grade and I would not hesitate in recommending this book or any of the classics that I grew up reading to my students.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful coming of age story about nature and tragedy.,
This is a wonderful tale that is a great one to read to children. It is about a boy called Jody Baxter who lives in a backwoods Florida cabin with his parents. Jody's overwhelming desire is to own something of his own, so when he discovers an orphaned fawn one day he is delighted. This year old fawn will not only become his best friend, but it will help him learn to become a man. During the course of this heart-warming novel, Jody has witnessed both human tragedy and the violent course of nature. This is a wonderful book that shows the relation of man to nature and the curves that nature can throw at the human race.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Part of growing up,
This review is from: The Yearling (Aladdin Classics) (Paperback)
I read this book as a young person while still in school. Now, while picking some books for a 10 year old nephew who is becoming an avid reader, I read it again. It is a beautiful book but it made me cry at 74 as well as when I first read it at about 14. I now live close to the Rawlings home in Cross Creek and have a keener apreciation of the setting but the writing itself is what makes the book. Of course the story represents another era and a poor southern family but the characterizations are well drawn and universal. Fodderwing and his family are people that every young person should meet.
Just as the opening words, to my mind, of "Mr. Roberts" transcend good writing and are superb, so the final few sentences of "The Yearling" speak to me in universal terms about youth and "where has it all gone?"
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The Yearling (Aladdin Classics) by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Paperback - September 1, 2001)