- Paperback: 1184 pages
- Publisher: Berkley (April 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425174409
- ISBN-13: 978-0425174401
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.7 x 1.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 178 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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And Ladies of the Club Paperback – April 1, 2000
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About the Author
Helen Hooven Santmyer was born in 1895 and lived in Xenia, Ohio. In addition to her career as a writer, she worked as an English professor, a dean of women, and a librarian.
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Top customer reviews
If you are looking for a good book to read for the summer, try And Ladies Of The Club. Don't let length of the book scare you off(my paperback copy is 1176 pages long). When your book arrives, turn on the AC, fix a beverage of your choice( a endless cup of coffee, a tall glass of lemonade, or a pepsi over ice), find a comfy and overstuffed chair, and enjoy your journey back in time. Santmyer's And Ladies Of The Club is definitely a # 1 bestseller!!!
This novel, touted in the '80s as the first (and only) novel of a little old lady in a nursing home, was written by a former college dean with extensive credentials in the English department (who got old). She had started this book earlier in life, but was too busy to finish it. She managed that task before she died, and I am so glad she did.
The story evolves primarily around one woman, who we see graduating with her friends from a women's "college" at age 18. The characterization is impeccable, and the words are put together like a fine painting. Reading the very first page, I knew this would be something special.
If you are accustomed to a story packed with action, thrills, chases and whatnot, this isn't your book. This is a leisurely, beautiful story, and the really fascinating thing is the way Santmeyer paces the book the way life FEELS in real life. She devotes entire chapters to youth, but the last 20 or 30 years just sort of slip away within a chapter or two, and she occasionally wakes up from an unplanned nap disoriented, thinking those who have died are still alive, or that she must see to dinner for a family member who moved out ten years ago.
It is breathtaking work, and as historical fiction, brilliantly accurate, aside from one weak place (but I couldn't take a star away) where she uses the novel as a political platform to rave a bit about an election that is long gone by now...and not an especially famous one. That's okay. By the time she does it, she has earned her little soapbox moment. The rest of the book is a masterpiece, and if you have the patience for good literature, you will find the time (though it may take you awhile!) to wade through this massive, but satisfying book.
I don't cry easily, but Santmeyer made me cry a couple of places. She takes a hold of the reader, and you become putty in her hands.
Please note that it is written at a high vocabulary level. This is not a book to hand to your precocious niece who just started high school. This is a book, I think, primarily for "the ladies" (if the title didn't already give you that clue), and it is gloriously written for educated women willing to spend some lazy time by the fire and be taken on a remarkable journey through an entire (fictional) life.
One reviewer says it starts slow. I would say the beginning is slow, yet promising. The first page shimmers enough to make the next couple of chapters worthwhile. Once you are into the text past the shallow level, you do, as another reviewer said, feel you have an entire town to take care of, and you couldn't possibly leave them dangling.
If you want something you can read while you are alternately trying to get something else done, this may not be the book for you. But if you have the opportunity to sit back and read a compelling, well developed story with incredibly richly developed characters, you really can't find anything better. I have taught English literature, and I'd take this over Tolstoy or Hawthorne any day of the week. Perhaps you will disagree...but it's worth finding out!