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Gene Stratton-Porter: A Girl of the Limberlost Paperback – March 6, 2010
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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. 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.
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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.
Why not follow Elnora to the Limberlost to find the healing magic of the woods and learn how one determined young girl lays the groundwork for her future and all those around her. If you love books like Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables and Cheaper by the Dozen, you will certainly fall in love in the Limberlost.
As with most of Gene Stratton-Porter's stories, this one was over the top. To be clear, however, it was difficult reading in some ways. The heroine, Elnora, is a self-starter, determined to make it in life. For her, that simply means she wants to get an education. She has no help, but rather hindrance by her horrible mother who is determined to discourage Elnora in everything she attempts to do.
Thankfully, Elnora has some love and assistance by a neighboring couple, who conspire to help her in ways they think she will accept. In spite of Elnora's mother's negativity and hindrance, Elnora is determined to move forward. She manages to turn all the rotten circumstances life tosses at her into dirt beneath her feet through her creative mind and abilities. Eventually, she will have support by other adults who come into her life, in particular the "Bird Woman" who is a character that is included in several of Porter's books. A side note: It's obvious the "Bird Woman" is based upon Gene Stratton Porter's own life.
Living in the Limberlost affords Elnora the opportunity to earn funds for school by putting together butterfly collections which she sells to get enough funds for her ongoing education. Because she's such a dedicated, hard working girl, success begins to come her way in every area of her life including romance. When she meets the man with whom she will fall in love, unfortunately he is already betrothed to another. However, love will make a way.
Awesome story with all the elements that make up a great read. A Cinderella type of girl, favor from her friends and neighbors, a type of princeling who comes her way. Loved it!