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My Ántonia by Willa Cather

antoniaMy Ántonia is my very first experience reading Willa Cather. I read the book for Willa Cather Reading Week which was hosted by Ali @ Heaven Ali back in December.

* CONTAINS SPOILERS

THE BOOK
My Ántonia was published in 1918 by American author, Willa Cather, who was widely recognized for her pioneer novels including this one. In 1923, Willa won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1922 novel, One of Ours.

THE STORY
Jim Burden shares the story of when he moved to Nebraska to live on the prairie with his grandparents after becoming an orphan. When a Bohemian family settle nearby, Jim’s family are amused by their foreign ways but manage to find common ground with their new neighbours. Jim finds himself drawn towards the eldest daughter, Ántonia, a vivacious and headstrong girl who fast becomes his closest companion. Ántonia will not only fascinate, frustrate and inspire Jim for the rest of his life, but she will come to represent the spirit of the land and home he cherishes, but chose to leave behind.

THE GOOD
My Ántonia is a simple story, but beautiful in its warm and gentle tone. The story really comes to life thanks to earthy characters and devastating descriptions of the Nebraska prairies. I don’t know what it is about pioneer stories that I find so charming because I’m sure it was a hard life for the settlers. I guess I find something romantic about the sense of hope they must have had creating a new life for their families and a place to call home.

THE BAD
A few moments of excitement occur, but there isn’t a lot of major drama in the story. For this reason, you could say nothing much happens in My Ántonia. The book has a slow and steady pace, but personally I didn’t mind at all.

CONCLUSION
My Ántonia is a nostalgic tale that highlights the struggles and rewards of pioneer life. In particular, the story highlights the difficulties faced by women and foreigners during that time, and how home really is where the heart is and the people you love can be found. Overall, the book is sweet and comforting, a very pleasant read.

4/5 Stars

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12 comments on “My Ántonia by Willa Cather

  1. WordsAndPeace
    January 9, 2015

    I also finally read this book recently and enjoyed very much the writing too. I enjoy book where not too much happens 😉

    Like

  2. Naomi
    January 9, 2015

    This book and another one of hers has been in my pile for a long time. I also love books about pioneering. I have often said that I was meant to be born 100 years ago. I think I like the idea of being able to grow and make everything you need on your own. There’s something satisfying about that. I wouldn’t be as happy without all my books, though. Pioneers tend to have very few books that they have to read over and over, if they even have time. Anyway, I’m glad to hear you liked it! I will look forward to reading it!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      January 13, 2015

      I love that you will miss your books. I never thought about how access to books would be limited. In this book, the characters seem to read the Bible or have school books..

      Like

  3. janceewright
    January 9, 2015

    I read this back in college, during a summer in which I pledge to read 1 classic per week. I remember liking this better than some of the others I read, but it didn’t make me overly excited or anything. I haven’t read anything else by Cather.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      January 13, 2015

      The story definitely doesn’t have a lot of action or drama, but I enjoyed its simplicity.

      Like

  4. Ruth @ A Great Book Study
    January 9, 2015

    I felt the same way about My Ántonia. A pleasant read. O Pioneers!, in this trilogy, is similar, with more heartbreak, too. Nonetheless, Cather’s writing is enjoyable.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      January 13, 2015

      It was my original intention to read O Pioneers!, so I think that will be the next Willa Cather book I pick-up.

      Like

  5. Priya
    January 10, 2015

    Sometimes all I’m in the mood for is a meandering story that isn’t full of twists and action. This sounds like a good read for such occasions!

    Like

  6. Roof Beam Reader
    January 12, 2015

    I adore Willa Cather. O Pioneers! is another beautiful frontier story…but my favorite is probably A Lost Lady.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      January 13, 2015

      I haven’t heard of A Lost Lady and will look it up. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Like

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This entry was posted on January 9, 2015 by in Reviews and tagged , .

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