Friday, November 06, 2015
The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields
Posted by JaneGS
I missed reading The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields, when the GoodReads TuesBookTalk Group read it last year, so it's been on my TBR shelf and went onto the TBR Pile Challenge list for this year.
It was a Pulitzer Prize winner for 1995, and while I did think it a good book (4 out of 5 GoodReads stars in my estimation), I didn't think it was absolutely fabulous...but pretty good and I'm glad I read it.
The Stone Diaries is a first person account of the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, who narrates from the day of her birth in 1905 until her death in the 1990s. While it cannot be argued that Daisy led an exciting life, she did have an interesting perspective--she was motherless, a child of the Canadian prairies, loved and treasured by her guardians. She had an interesting father, lifelong friends, and a latent zest for life despite her Mrs. Cleaver approach to marriage and motherhood.
I think what Shields really did with this novel is provide a chronicle of the twentieth century in North America. It's not definitive, but it spans the century and reflects some of the disconnection and dislocation that I think characterized the 20th century due to exploding technology, shrinking borders, and changing social mores.
I think my favorite chapter was Work: 1955-1964, which consists entirely of letters that tell the Daisy's story after the death of her much-older husband and her mid-life career as a garden columnist. I loved how Daisy reinvented herself at this point in her story.