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The Member of the Wedding by Carson…

The Member of the Wedding (edition 2004)

by Carson McCullers

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2,047403,258 (3.9)172
Title:The Member of the Wedding
Authors:Carson McCullers
Info:Mariner Books (2004), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:20th century, american literature, coming of age, southern literature

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The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers



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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Nobody writes about loneliness and the need for human connections like McCullers do. Here, she perfectly captures the mindset of a pubescent girl trying to escape the interminable days of her suffocating, uneventful surroundings. Her knack for it makes me wonder about her life - what made her so perceptive about this particular mindset - that I can't help but read her into the young female characters she writes.

Frankie's longing for belonging, to be a part of something somewhere anything anywhere, with the simple single-mindedness, narrow-focus yet far reaching imagination that is so particular to children is uncomfortably realistic and pure excellence. This book is not as symbolic as Lonely Hunter but just as haunting. It definitely helps that Mick was my favourite character in there and she and Frankie both had similar problems and their youths meant there was so much more potential to explore.

Recommendation: best read after The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. A reread is also bookmarked for the future for a fuller appreciation of McCullers' writing when hopefully I would not be as caught up in how Frankie's angst will be resolved.

Aside: The day where Frankie wanders around the town is amazing. Also, Berenice is a great character. ( )
  kitzyl | Apr 24, 2017 |
'they are the we of me'
By sally tarbox on 2 Oct. 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Absolutely amazing read; I just marvelled that the author still had such a vivid recollection of the feelings of a twelve year old, and was able to express them so well.
A book about growing up; a dawning awareness of the greater world, and of oneself as separate from -yet somehow linked to- the rest of humanity:
'this is what I mean', F.Jasmine said. 'You are walking down a street and you meet somebody. Anybody. And you look at each other. And you are you. And he is him. Yet when you look at each other, the eyes make a connexion. Then you go off one way. And he goes off another way. You go off into different parts of town, and maybe you never see each other again. Not in your whole life. Do you see what I mean?' ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
A coming-of-age novel, of sorts, about a twelve-year old girl growing up in the American South during World War II, a girl who becomes obsessed with the idea of her brother's wedding and somehow convinces herself that when it's over, she will go off with them and into another, freer life.

Carson McCullers' writing style is a little odd. It is, on the surface, very plain, even unsophisticated, but at the same time it often has a strange, oblique quality to it. It takes some getting used to, but I'd already done so once, over the course of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, which I loved. It had to win me all over again when I started this one, and that took a while, but by the end it was absolutely working for me. And McCullers does an amazing job of capturing what it's like to be at that in-between age. Not just the usual cusp-of-adolescence stuff either -- inklings about sex, a longing to escape the confines of childhood and find or make one's own place in the world -- but also the, for lack of a better phrase, existential crisis of it all. I'd almost forgotten what that's like, and it hit me with quite a shock of recognition to see it represented so well here. ( )
1 vote bragan | May 21, 2016 |
1946 short novel about a wistful, lonely adolescent girl in small town Georgia. Frankie yearns to be out in the world, free of her boredom and restlessness. She imagines giving blood to aid the war-wounded as a sort of going away, but her main infatuation is in escaping with her brother and his fiancé after their imminent wedding. The story centers on her interplay with the oft-divorced, sense-talking maid Berenice and Frankie's little cousin John Henry. Her father is kept aloof from the story. I easily can see this as the esteemed stage play it inspired. She wonders the town streets and narrowly avoids abuse from a drunken soldier on leave. Her final adventuresome try at leaving her life is touching and ends realistically enough. Some good writing, though I wish the wedding itself and Frankie's attendance had been developed more. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Mar 22, 2016 |
Having read The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter a few years ago, I was eager to crack open another Carson McCullers' book. If I could find half of the raw emotion and character that enveloped McCullers' first novel, I would be content. I chose The Member of the Wedding for no reason other than accessibility; I happened to have a copy right in front of me. Though the book started out much too slow, lacked a good sense of pacing, and wasn't nearly as powerful as its predecessor, it was a great novel, indeed.

McCullers had this way of picking out the most awkward, socially-inept characters and making them accessible to her readers. Not only are these characters accessible, but their actions and feelings really resonate with many of us, I believe. Frankie Addams (or F. Jasmine as she prefers to be called) is one of these characters. She's strange and unsophisticated, but she believes otherwise, which leads her along a path toward great embarrassment or worse. The reader sees it coming, and because we care about the character we want her to avoid it, but because this is a McCullers story we eagerly anticipate the destruction. We know the carnage will be laid out in a way that is moving and lyrical.

In some ways The Member of the Wedding is on par with The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter —it is a wonderful character study and does not flinch in its portrayal of the human condition. In other regards, however, The Member of the Wedding doesn't have the story or the cast of secondary characters that made McCullers' debut novel unstoppable. Regardless, I look forward to the next. McCullers' name easily belongs amongst the greats of her time. ( )
  chrisblocker | Mar 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Frankie is the pawky, gawky heroine of Carson McCullers' slim (195-page) new novel—she calls it a novella. Unlike Novelist McCullers' earlier books (The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye), which were well filled with the complex, morbid relationships of adults, The Member of the Wedding is a serious attempt to recapture that elusive moment when childhood melts into adolescence. The result is often touching, always strictly limited by the small scope of its small characters. Like childhood, it is full of incident but devoid of a clear plot; always working its way ahead, but always doubling back on itself; two-faced, two-minded. The soiled elbows of Frankie, the brat, keep showing below the sleeves of the orange satin bridal dress which F. Jasmine Addams, Esq. wears to her older brother's wedding.
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carson McCullersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moering, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Elizabeth Ames
First words
It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old.
“The world is certainly a small place,” she said.
“What makes you say that?”
“I mean sudden,” said Frankie. “The world is certainly a sudden place.”
“Well, I don’t know,” said Berenice. “Sometimes sudden and sometimes slow.”
Frankie’s eyes were half closed, and to her own ears her voice sounded ragged, far away:
“To me it is sudden.”
That is the way it is when you are in love. Invariably. A thing known and not spoken.
Berenice began with the old same story that they had heard many times before. The story of her and Ludie Freeman. A long time ago.
“Now I am here to tell you I was happy. There was no human woman in all the world more happy than I was in them days,” she said. “And that includes everybody. You listening to me, John Henry? It includes all queens and millionaires and first ladies of the land. And I mean it includes people of all color. You hear me, Frankie? No human woman in all the world was happier than Berenice Sadie Brown.”
She had started with the old story of Ludie. And it began an afternoon in late Octorber almost twenty years ago. The story started at the place where first they met each other, in front of Camp Campbell’s Filling Station outside fo the city limits of the town. It was the time of the year when the leaves were turning and the countryside was smoky and autmn gray and gold. And the story went on from that first meeting to the wedding at the Welcome Ascension Church in Sugarville. And then on through the years with the two of them together. The house with brick front steps and the glass window son the corner of Barrow Street. The Christmas of the fox fur, and the June of the fish fry thrown for twenty-eight invited relatives and guests. The years with Berenice cooking dinner and dewing Ludie’s suits and shirts on the machine and the two of them always having a good time. And the nine months they lived up North, in the city of Cincinnati, where there was snow. Then Sugarville again, and days margining one into another, and the weeks, the months, the years together. And the pair of them always had a good time, yet it was not so much the happenings she mentioned as the way she told about these happenings that made F. Jasmine understand.
Berenice spoke in an unwinding kind of voice, and she had said that she was happier than a queen. As she told the story, it seemed to F. Jasmine that Berenice resembled a strange queen, if a queen can be colored and sitting at a kitchen table. She unwound the story of her and Ludie like a colored queen unwinding a bolt of cloth of gold—and at the end, when the story was over, her expression was always the same: the dark eye starting straight ahead, her flat nose widened and trembling, her mouth finished and sad and quiet.
I wish I was somebody else except me.
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Please do not combine Carson McCuller's original novel with either her stage play adaptation, the related Bloom's Guide , or other treatments of the story. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618492399, Paperback)

Twelve-year-old Frankie Adams, longing at once for escape and belonging, takes her role as "member of the wedding" to mean that when her older brother marries she will join the happy couple in their new life together. But Frankie is unlucky in love; her mother is dead, and Frankie narrowly escapes being raped by a drunken soldier during a farewell tour of the town. Worst of all, "member of the wedding" doesn't mean what she thinks. A gorgeous, brief coming-of-age novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Frankie Addams, a motherless twelve-year-old raised by her father and the family's African-American cook, struggles with conflicting feelings about her brother's upcoming wedding.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

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