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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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1,873323,692 (3.9)159
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

Recently added byprivate library, flanoer, Gerard_Scott, JaynaLG, brian5764, VCOE
Legacy LibrariesSylvia Plath, Carson McCullers, Anthony Burgess



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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
A perfect portrait of what it's like to be 13. Frankie (or F. Jasmine, as she refers to herself) wants to be anywhere but where she is. Where she is is mostly in the kitchen with her young cousin John Henry and Berenice, cook and soulmate, as they while away the hot August afternoons exchanging stories and dreams. Frankie's brother is getting married in a week, and Frankie has decided that she will be leaving town forever with her brother and his new bride after the wedding. We join her as she takes a farewell walk around her town, where she puts herself in more peril than she realizes.

I am awed by how beautifully McCullers conveys Frankie's spirit--her sense of herself as worldly, yet her actual total and absolute naivete. Frankie's yearning to belong, to be a "member" of anything---ah--the memories McCullers evokes of being 13. A simply amazing book.

5 stars

Some quotes from the book that particularly struck me:

First sentence:

"It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member."

"Frankie had become an unjoined person...."

"'To me it is the irony of fate,' she said. 'The way they come here. Those moths could fly anywhere. Yet they keep hanging around the windows of this house.'"

"She was afraid of these things that made her suddenly wonder who she was, and what she was going to be in the world and why she was standing at that minute, seeing a light, or listening, or staring up into the sky, alone. She was afraid and there was a queer tightness in her through." ( )
  arubabookwoman | Oct 20, 2015 |
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
I think McCullers is an acquired taste, like olives and mushrooms. Fortunately for me, I've acquired a taste for all three.

Our heroine, Frankie, is 12, bored, out-of-sorts, and hot in her small Southern town. All she has to look forward to during this draggingly long summer is her brother's wedding. And look forward to it she does!

As Frankie is a complete innocent, she believes that she not only will be a part of the wedding, but will blithely accompany her brother and his new bride on their honeymoon (and presumably for the rest of their lives).

Okay, that seems an absurd premise and that Frankie is simply a figure of fun. Not so. McCullers shows Frankie's slow awakening to things only dimly understood as she wanders around town, completely without escort or guidance. The book is divided in two parts; the second part turns quite a bit darker as this girl ventures into places where she doesn't belong, makes mistakes, and shows a fairly alarming streak of anger in her character.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but it's not for everyone. It's weird and McCullers' view of life is distinctly off-kilter. Still, recommended for those who enjoy Southern Gothic or the off-beat. ( )
  bohemima | Jan 29, 2015 |
One August, during the dog days of summer, 12-year-old Frankie's soldier brother Jarvis comes home from military service in Alaska to marry his fiancee, Janice. Frankie, now calling herself F. Jasmine, becomes obsessed with her brother's wedding, and she is determined to go away with her brother and his new wife after the wedding. F. Jasmine will tell this to anyone who will listen to her, which really boils down to her African American housekeeper Berenice and her 6-year-old cousin John Henry. It's obvious from the beginning that this will not end well.


Frankie/F. Jasmine/Frances is at an awkward period in her development. She no longer considers herself a child, but adults still treat her as a child. It's normal to feel lonely and left out at that age. It is not normal act out on those feelings with kitchen knives or loaded pistols. I didn't identify with Frankie; I was scared of her. I felt the absence of parental authority and guidance. Frankie's father is barely present in the novel. I'm not sure what responsibility Berenice has for Frankie. She makes suggestions about what Frankie should do, but she doesn't seem to have the authority to make Frankie do anything or to restrict her movements. Frankie is uncomfortable with her sexuality, and this is projected onto her cat, Charles/Charlina, and onto John Henry, who plays dress-up in women's clothes and plays with Frankie's doll. Frances latches onto her new friend, Mary Littlejohn, with the same fervency she exhibited for the wedding. I'm left with a feeling of dread about how this relationship will end. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Jan 25, 2015 |
This is a Southern coming-of-age story told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old who is to be in her brother's wedding and wishes to "stow away" on his honeymoon. Important characters were developed as they should have been and one gets a sense of how each relates to the main character of F. Jasmine. While I recognize the literary merit of the book, I felt a little dissatisfaction in the end with the overall story. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jan 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (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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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)

» see all 5 descriptions

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