DilDeewana is right, it’s so good! So very very good! It’s got a radical social message, it’s got a Jerk Man who is accurately described as a Jerk Man, and it has a loving kind grandfather. And a heroine who is an odd fit with girls her own age but discovers the joys of maturity.
I love this book! It threw me right back to when I first discovered Lovelace at age ten and suffered AGONIES because I had to stop reading while I was at school.
Let me count the ways I love it:
- The way our heroine struggles with her internal doubts, but never actually humiliates herself in public, remains dignified always.
- The loving relationship between grandfather and granddaughter, both appreciating the best parts of each other and ignoring the worst
- The joys of a challenging interesting intellectual life, even going to a dance is fun because you can talk politics in an interesting way as much as dancing
- The joys of clothes!!!! Intellectual growth is great, but it doesn’t mean you can’t also be excited about clothes.
- The sense that a full life is about serving a greater good in one way or another, having work and a purpose, that is the only way to true contentment.
- Everyone is ready to help our heroine, she has to struggle her way to finding herself by herself because it is an individual job, but there people all around just waiting to be asked to help.
- Mr. Wakeman. He’s dreamy.
How much did you love it? And why?
Also, important discussion questions!
Terrible men contest: Is Don worse, or the Racist School Board Member? On the one hand, the Racist School Board Member has real power in the world. On the other hand, he is capable of listening to others and respecting their opinion while Don is not. On the third hand, Don is young and might still grow into a good person. On the fourth hand, can he really? Is there any growth possible there? Yes, I think I hate Don worst of all.
Wonderful men contest: Grandfather, Mr. Wakeman, or Cab? So sue me, I’m going with Cab!!!! Grandfather and Mr. Wakeman are wonderful men, but they also have a particular interest in being kind to Emily because they love her. Cab is just a really really nice man who is nice to people because he is nice.
Wonderful women contest: Miss Fowler the English teacher, or Miss Cobb the spinster piano teacher raising her nephew? Miss Fowler!!!! Miss Cobb has the more striking back story, giving up her own dreams to raise her nephews and watching them sicken and die except for one. But Miss Fowler!!!! She volunteers to teach evening classes on Browning to interested young women, she fights the school board to provide citizenship classes to the Syrians, she even match-makes between Mr. Wakeman and Emily!!! She is my HEROINE!!!
Cousin Annette and Family: Good relatives, or bad relatives? I think they could do a heck of a lot more, but they actually would if someone asked them too. It’s not that they have abandoned Emily and Grandpa, it’s that Emily and Grandpa have firmly set limits and Annette and Family respect them. Annette would be happy to talk boys with Emily or give her fashion advice or sympathize sincerely with her misery, if Emily would let her. And Aunt Sophie and Uncle Chester would probably be open to taking Emily into their household for high school and hosting parties and things for her, she just didn’t want it. So I’m going with not the BEST relatives (they could have aggressively forced help on Emily and Grandpa), but not BAD relatives.
Annette and Don’s engagement, Will it Last? Do We Want it To? I really really don’t want it to last! I think Annette has a power to her that no one else is really aware of (the way she hosts and coordinates “crowd” events tells me there is some subtle social manipulation there) and I think if she does marry Don, she will be the making of him, smoothing over all his awkwardness and offensiveness and making him a success. But I also think Annette is nice and deserves more! Someone she doesn’t have to be constantly cleaning up after and saying “he really is nice, you know, when we are alone”. My best hope is that Annette will decide on her own she is done with the engagement and nicely handle Don so he leaves her alone. And then Don can marry some snobby East Coast woman who can join him in sneering at things.
Mr. Wakeman and Emily: Is he going to go back to school and write her letters, or is he settling in Deep Valley? I wasn’t sure at the end. And I kind of want him to settle, I want Emily to be a High School Teacher’s Wife and host ladies improvement classes and political rallies and eventually run for School Board President and unseat Racist Man. But I would also be okay I guess if he goes back to school, writes her letters, and they get married in one or two years and he takes a job teaching at a university or at some other high school or something. I have confidence that Our Emily will find a way to blossom where ever she is, especially with a nice SUPPORTIVE man at her side (stupid Don, totally blighted her whole high school career by keeping her constantly on edge. At least, that’s what I think). Oh, and if Mr. Wakeman and Emily end up in New York, she could be best friends with Eleanor Roosevelt, and that would make me happy.
Best Self-improvement plan: Browning classes, Dance classes, or putting up her hair? Putting up her hair. It’s not even close.
Mr. Wakeman=Vicky Kaushal
ooh yay! It’s time to discuss! What I love about Emily is that 1) she’s so ordinary – she’s not brilliant, though she is smart, 2) She has several moral faults and regular faults (her ego, some envy, liking Don) and 3) she’s honest with herself. She knows what she wants, doesn’t cover it up to herself and once she realizes what she wants, goes after it with vigor.
I think what I also like about the book is that I have BEEN Emily. Living in the past, living through other people, trying to cling to an identity that doesn’t exist anymore. So this made me really happy.
This book is a bit like oatmeal. But oatmeal with some almonds and raisins in it. It’s not full of purple prose or abstract ideas but just deals with normal everyday people and their normal everyday concerns. Clothes, skates, dancing. Her improvement isn’t in one chapter and then glossed over, like in so many other books. It IS the book and we see so many discouragements and falling back on old habits and starting again that it’s wonderful.
I wasn’t sure about the grandfather. I disliked him heartily at the beginning and by the end I came around to seeing he was okayishly cool. Emily not going to college because of him definitely stung, because even if she did do a lot without it, it’s not fair.
Mr. Wakeman also seemed so funny to me, just because he wasn’t even a character – almost like a soundboard for Emily’s ideas. The kiss at the end, I could not take it seriously. I just kept laughing the whole time because…what?
Don SUCKS. And he sucks because we’ve all met people like that! Why is he so weird?? I’m glad Emily just laughs at him in the end, because he DESERVES it. I agree with you about Cab. He is great! He definitely made me smile and made me so happy, way way more than Grandfather or Mr. Wakeman did. He’s just overall cool.
I found Miss Fowler really great, but I’m not sure why. I also kind of liked the dancing teacher though she wasn’t much of a presence. I like the Browning circle, I like how she’s always sympathetic to Emily and what she wants and is willing to help her find a way. Go Miss Fowler!
Annette and Don…nah. It seems like a very boy-girl engagement and I think Emily laughing at him will wound Don and he’ll get more insufferable, until he and Annette will mutually break up in around the third or fourth year of college. I liked Annette, I feel like she needs college to steady her and maybe the breakup is part of that. She’s definitely caring to Emily in her own way, but it’s clear that her mother is a little ‘whatever’ towards Emily (I can’t remember the word right now). While she is caring, it’s caring more from duty than from love. But they’re overall nice people.
Wakeman’s going back to school. He has to, it’s his Masters!! So he goes and maybe he teaches at a uni and in a few years, Emily goes to college as well and maybe becomes a college professor or a Dean of Student Affairs or something!
The three self-improvements are simultaneously hard to decide between and yet so, so easy. Hair is number one. Best improvement ever. But I have a soft spot for Browning and the dance classes. But hair wins out.
Okay, now I have a question: Are there any other turn of the century (or really, any old-ish) books about children/girls growing up? I think I’ve been through the lot with Alcott, Montgomery, Jean Webster, Ellen Glasgow, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, the Prairie books, even Live Alone and Like It by Marjorie Hills! But I’d love to know I’m missing out on something and read something new like this!
1) Yes! And her accomplishments are ordinary accomplishments and her life is an ordinary life, but it’s still extraordinary. You don’t need to be the most popular girl in school, or win a Noble prize, you can just be really good on the debate team and make things a little better for the Syrians who live close to you. It’s such a healthy message, it makes you feel like you can go out and make the world a little better and have a good life without needing to be a Wizard or whatever.
2) Yes! Flawed, makes mistakes. But also smart. There’s no “dumb” mistakes if that makes sense. Everything feels reasonable for a reasonably smart person still growing up. She never confesses her feelings to Don, she is never completely cruel to Grandpa, she is just a little snappish and silly and bored in a normal way.
3) I love her honesty! Especially about Don. She knows he is a selfish self-involved person who doesn’t really think about her, she even knows her crush is bad for her and wishes it would go away, and yet it still doesn’t. That felt really true, that sometimes your mind figures things out ahead of your heart.
This book is definitely oatmeal, but with a lot of brown sugar. Soft and filling but at the end of it you feel satisfied, you know? It doesn’t give you that junk food stomach upset feeling you get from other books.
I was a little irritated with Grandpa at the beginning when he was more excited about Decoration Day than her graduation. But over time I began to feel like we were seeing Grandpa through Emily’s eyes. She resented him a little because of not going to college, not having the life like other girls. But as the year went on, she saw how he worried about her, how he tried everything he could to make her happy. She heard what he was saying about her mother, how he tried to find activities they could do together, and so on. If I think of him as an 80 year old man trying his best for his teenage granddaughter, then he really is trying his best.
Mr. Wakeman definitely feels more like an idea of the perfect man for her rather than a full person. I began to really like him when he helped decorate the graves, but there weren’t many scenes like that. But that worked for me because it’s Emily’s story, and Mr. Wakeman is about what it means for her maturity more than himself as a character. She went from an unhealthy fantasy relationship, to an easy mature happy relationship with someone who respected her, and to whom she felt she could tell anything. I think if Mr. Wakeman had been more of a character, and their romance more of a romance, then the focus would have slid from Emily, you know? That’s what Lovelace did with the Betsy series but over 4 books, Joe was always in the background but the first 3 books were about Betsy growing up more than anything, and only in the last one did he really come to the foreground.
Don is SO TERRIBLE!!!! Smart enough to intoxicate smart girls, but uses them to feel good about himself as much as a handsome boy would use his looks or a charming boy would use his charm. And yes, there are Don’s all over the world!!! And you think you aren’t being used, because they are so smart and you are so smart and it’s not like you are falling for something shallow like charm or looks. And the thing is, he simply isn’t kind. And then Cab may not be that smart or handsome or anything, but he is really kind.
Yes, Annette, leave Don behind! Appreciate yourself! I agree that she and Emily truly care about each other, but right now maybe they are heading in different directions. Oooooo, sequel idea!!!! 3 years later Emily has finished a 2 year degree and is preparing to marry Mr. Wakeman and go live with him in a college town. Annette has finished college and broke up with Don and feels awkward and strange at home (especially after the fuss about the broken engagement). Emily spontaneously invites her to come for a long visit with her and Mr. Wakeman to help set up the house and stuff. Annette and Emily become closer than ever before, sharing their Horrible Don stories, and Annette expresses her feeling of being lost after graduation and Emily admits she felt the same way. Annette ends up getting a job in the administration office of the college and loves it, and starts a maybe romance with an older returning student. But at the end of the book, she has decided she wants to rent a small apartment just for herself and if the older returning student and she last until he is able to get married (he has family responsibilities), great. And if not, she is happy with her apartment and her work friends and spending time with Emily and Mr. Wakeman.
And I want Emily to get a degree from the local college and then transfer credits and finish off with a real university degree. She doesn’t need the traditional 4 year experience and probably wouldn’t like it if she had it. But starting at the local college while living with Grandpa, and then finishing up with a few more classes after marriage, yes! She would love that!!!
Ooo ooo! I have so many book recs for you! someone else mentioned All of a Kind Family, check that one out. But mostly check out this WONDERFUL small publishing house! Everything is good!!! https://imagecascade.com/booksbyseries.html My favorites are the Penny Parrish series and the Sue Barton series.
On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 11:19 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Yay! Thanks for the links!
I actually made myself I little packing paper notebook to write down all my questions as I was reading this book. But one question I didn’t write down, that I thought after reading your thoughts:
Is anyone else a little freaked out that less than a year after graduating High School Emily is dating a High School Teacher?!?
I thought his character was great, I did not find the relationship overly icky, but I did think a boundary was crossed that should not be crossed today.
Okay, here are the questions I wrote down while reading the book:
1. There were Syrians in Minnnesota? (Yes, modernly called Lebanese, but in 1912 referred to as Syrians. I don’t know enough about Lebanese/Syrian history to know why the names are interchangable or the full history, but the author did not make it up.)
2. How many girls went to college in 1912? (This is NOT an easy question to answer. I can find stats for 1940 on. I can find stats for 19 and under before 1940. I cannot find stats for 1912 higher education for females. Though based on what I did find it appeared the curriculum was separated and that it may have been the Mrs. degree that was expected, which was still kinda joked about/reality in the 1990s. Indeed I met my husband at college, and am currently a housewife. – As so much of what this author writes is otherwise truthful I expect she had a perhaps unique community in which college was expected for young women. Anne of Green Gables also went to college, but I never got the sense in her story that it was expected.)
3. Decoration Day, where Veterans Day meets Day of the Dead. (I LOVE Decoration Day. I did feel some relief when Don made fun of it as I was wondering was America really so goody two-shoes perfect in the past? But still I love it. I feel American culture has lost meaningful long term ways to honor our deceased relatives. My mother makes Day of the Dead alters to her and my father’s parents every year. She has no Mexican heritage, but adopting (stealing) this piece of their culture helps her. We as humans need to honor the dead.)
4.I connected past politics to modern politics and as politics aren’t allowed on this blog I will simply state that T. Roosevelt was WACK! I read a speech of his from when he was honored in So.California with the planting of an orange tree, (I was reading a book on trees) and the man was as racist a racist as imaginable. And yet he brought the buffalo soldiers into Yosemite as the first Rangers knowing they were hardworking and capable fighters and humans. It brought me GREAT COMFORT to think that what is happening today has happened before.
5. How much $ was spent on CLOTHES!!? (I think a lot. In modern times when you take inflation into account our clothes are so so so much cheaper than they were in the past.)
6. At one point when cleaning up she bathed the nicknacks in whatnot. I suspect there is a recipe for whatnot out there, and I want to know what it is.
7. “Bless my soul what dimples, they’re like potholes!” – a compliment that compares your face to an asphalt street = memorable.
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!! I am SO ready to discuss! Oh, and you did like it, right? Just, in general?
I was freaked out a little when I first read the book summary, but then the way it plays out was fine. I think Lovelace must have thought it out really carefully to avoid all the pitfalls. He is a new teacher, so she never had him before. He’s writing his grad school thesis, so he’s still kind of a student himself, and he’s only like 22. They don’t really meet and talk until Spring, when she has already started moving into the adult world and thinking of herself as a mature person. And he clearly respects her and treats her as an equal, not as a child. If he had been her teacher, that would have been weird. Or if he had been all settled in life/career while she was still finding himself, also weird. And if they had become friends before she had the whole journey of seeing 22 year old Cab as an equal, also weird. But as it was, fine.
1. There must have been! It’s in the Betsy-Tacy series briefly too. Oh, I found an article: https://www.mankatofreepress.com/news/local_news/tinkcomville-was-well-known-mankato-neighborhood/article_bf62e0a6-6fe8-11e8-a5a0-c7c6255e0fc0.html Looks like it is exactly as described in the book, a weird old man sold lots to refugees and a mini-community formed.
2. I have the same question every time I read the Lovelace books! On the one hand, she has so many girls getting advanced education. But on the other hand, she also has a couple main characters who don’t even finish high school. I’m thinking it is the upper middle-class community she is in, and the fact that her heroines naturally incline towards equally ambitious and smart young women. Best I can do is University of Minnesota history, it was founded as co-ed to begin with in 1851, and then war and funding interruptions and stuffed messed stuff up, but it really got going in the 1870s and the first female graduate was in 1875.
Here’s the big mindblowing thing: In 1907, tuition was $10 a semester which is the equivalent of $278 in today’s money. That’s the other thing that is different (and that is a WHOLE millennial lecture!!!!), the cost of land grant colleges used to be almost nothing because it was part of basic state services and federal funding, so that part wasn’t even a concern. If your family didn’t make you go straight to work, or think it was wrong for women to be educated, it was in reach of literally anyone. I guess that’s kind of important to this book too, Emily is sitting at home twiddling her thumbs, when she could be at college for no additional cost actually DOING something.
3. I love Decoration Day too!!!! In the new version we have the honoring of veterans, sort of, but it feels like we are ducking away from the reality of life and death. And just thinking about death in general. I also really loved the conversation with Don, because on the one hand yes it was sappy patriotism, but on the other hand it really meant a lot to Emily’s Grandpa and it’s important for kids to learn and appreciate this history. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
4. I very much enjoyed the political part of this book! Without taking sides (Emily is pro-Roosevelt, Wakeman is pro-Wilson), she was just saying “this is important stuff for people to talk about and understand each other’s reasoning”. And definitely a little bit of feminism there, considering this was pre-sufferage and here is Emily, AND the other women, having educated interested conversations about an election in which they cannot vote.
5. So much money!!!! And one of the things I loved is how clothes are treated seriously partly as a serious living expense. Part of Emily’s maturity is that she is capable of picking out her own clothes, both in style and in price. She budgets and chooses and plans and gets things that will last, and feels a little silly and worried when she buys a party dress without knowing for sure she will be able to wear it. And part of Annette’s immaturity is that her mother just handles all of that for her. I feel like in books set in the past but written in modern times, often authors miss the sort of financial planning aspect, they get bogged down on the pretty pretty clothes without thinking about how you have to pick clothing that would last and a style you could easily alter as fashions changed and so on. It feels like buying a sofa way more than buying a dress.
6. First I have to know what the knicknacks are! Whatnot could be baking soda? Vinegar? All kinds of things!
7. Very memorable! I really love Lovelace’s language. She describes people in a way that is always specific, not just “pretty”, but “pretty with a smile with crooked teeth” or something like that.
On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 6:23 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I only briefly skimmed this because I want to read it properly once I’ve done my re-read of the book, but I’m glad you enjoyed it! Let me know if/when you ready Carney’s House Party, another standalone by Maude. Also, I’ll leave this video here because I just watched it this morning and it tickled me that they talk about Emily. The Emily talk starts at 23:28 and lasts just a couple minutes:
I just started Carney’s House Party! I was going to read A Discovery of Witches, but then I decided it was too grown up and thinky and went back to Lovelace.
Oooohh have fun!! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!
Don is worse than the racist school board member. I live in a small, surprisingly diverse, surprisingly racist town. If you look at every racist as the incarnation of evil you will be surrounded by evil. Racists can change, as is evident in the school board member’s vote. Don puts down the people he loves to make himself feel better. He can change too, but until he does he is as a human, worse. Is denigrating your own family worse than denigrating a race? At this moment I say yes, but I reserve the right to change my mind.
I think Cousin Annette and her family is wonderful! To do what others may want them to do they would need to adopt Emily. But does Emily want to be adopted? Does she not love her Grandfather? They are there if she needs them and she knows that. I think they towed the line admirably.
I really hope Annette’s engagement will not last with Don. I am pissed at Emily for not telling Annette her feelings so that she cannot easily tell her what an ass Don was. Honestly I feel like Emily is failing Annette. But given the time period and everything else, she might marry Don, and they may both be miserable.
What actress to play Emily? It has to be someone young. I don’t know them. I don’t know any 18 year old actresses. Someone new. And While Ranbir for Don would be perfect, he too is too old! We need a young actor to imitate Ranbir. But I think Vicky Kaushal could play a wonderful Mr. Wakeman.
One thing I really REALLY loved was Emily’s split second decision to throw out any larger racial argument, and stick with “these are people who are already here and deserve our support”. That felt realistic to me, someone like the Racist Schoolboard Member is never going to admit or even realize he is being racist. So don’t bother with that. But if you treat him as a human person and appeal to his emotions, he might surprise you with his decency. I also liked the follow up when he spoke to Emily and it was clear he already sort of knew her. That’s the best part of small towns, he listened to her and respected her because he knew her from around, the way he wouldn’t have listened to an outsider. And to your argument, Don is not capable of responding to a human appeal, as he proves over and OVER again, because he will always put his needs first. If it was inconvenient for him to educate Syrians, he would argue against it for that reason alone.
I wish we had gotten more from Cousin Annette’s family! We couldn’t, without losing Emily’s perspective, but it would have been nice to see the aunt and uncle talking over “Emily is trapped with Grandpa and should really go to college. Could we suggest it as a favor to Annette, so she won’t go alone? Could we offer to pay the tuition? Could we say we are lonely and ask her to come stay with us after Annette leaves? No, the best thing is to just leave her with Grandpa for now and keep an eye on the situation.” I also think it is really important that we learned Grandma died when Emily was 10 or 11. That would have been when she could have moved in with Annette, but by that age it would have been cruel to uproot her from her home.
Maybe Emily will tell Annette eventually? Don didn’t really cross a line with her in an definable way, he just clearly enjoyed knowing she had a crush on him even if he didn’t feel the same way. I thought it was really interesting that Annette was already saying things about how other people don’t like Don. So she knew there was something wrong with how he treated people. Maybe in a little bit she will be more open to listening to Emily’s opinions on him. And Annette’s wise Mom seemed pretty sure it wouldn’t last through college, especially if Don transferred to another school and if Annette’s parents insisted they wait. Because, BLECH!!!!
What about Fatima Sana Sheikh? She has a youthful feel to her, and dignified.
On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 6:52 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Fatima Sana Sheikh is 29! Her demeanor is kinda perfect though. So yes, good idea, but Emily needs to be YOUNG.
I loved the book.
I think Don is redeemable. He is young, a kid. Men’s brains continue to grow till 25. He needs a set back, a heart break or something, and he could grow into a true good human. I am so happy I am not judged on my 18 year old self, or even on my 29 year old self. Yes my basic personality traits are the same, but I am not the same.
All the same, good on Annette’s parents for seeing the possible problems and hopefully making them wait.
Can we agree that even if Don could grow into being someone better, it is not the responsibility of Emily OR Annette to try to make him grow? Or even put up with him while he is growing? I am okay with him transferring to Yale, breaking it off with Annette “for her own good”, and then discovering he isn’t that smart or cool or impressive or anything, being beaten up by the world, becoming a better person, humbly returning to Deep Valley and humbly asking Annette if she is willing to be his friend again. But I am not okay with Annette and Emily needing to “teach” him how to be a decent person!!! They deserve someone already decent.
And yes, good on Annette’s parents. I think they are playing it just right. Don is all big on being a genius and going to college and stuff, no way he would let himself quit early. And they are spinning it as “of course you will graduate and why not wait until then to get married”. Don would have to admit a flaw if he said he wanted to marry earlier. Fingers crossed, college gives enough time for them to break up.
Oh oh! What about this as Kajol’s daughter’s debut???
On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 8:23 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
LikeLiked by 1 person
My first instinct is that Kajol would be a terrible Emily and it would only work if her daughter isn’t like her at all. But then was Simran really so different from Emily? So however she is naturally, perhaps Kajols daughter could be Emily, especially if she inherited Ajay’s dignity.
Yes we can agree that neither Annette nor Emily is responsible for improving Don. I think some time away from the town and all its inhabitants would do the prig good.
Kajol’s daughter is also naturally a little darker skinned, and wears glasses. Which would be PERFECT Emily traits!!!
On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 11:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
This book was so amazing! I have so many thoughts but I am way too tired to write them all now. I’ll answer all your questions tomorrow. I just wanted to comment now so you knew that interest in the DCIB bookclub is still very strong. Well it is for me. I had no interest in Shiv Purana because I had already read other versions of it and knew most of the stories but the other books/stories have been great.
Oh and I have the perfect casting for Emily. It should be Pranutan Bhal. Tall, quiet, dignified looking. She would be perfect!
Oooo, YES! From Notebook, right? She was great! Too old according to Our Emily, but maybe we could make it post-college instead in our remake? Everyone finishes out at the local Shimla college and most of her friends then go to the city or abroad for further study and she is stuck at home?
On Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 7:18 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Terrible men contest: Is Don worse, or the Racist School Board Member? Don. That was easy. Don continues to systematically put people down. I guess he isn’t racist (maybe) but he is still a giant jerk who makes others feel inferior. He is also young and going to be going to an Ivy League school. So unfortunately, he will be looked at with respect and if he continues down this path he has the potential to harm a lot more people in the future. However, like others have said, he is young and I hope he changes. I am hoping at Yale he realizes that he is not as smart as he thinks he is and if Annette also breaks up with him he will be overall humbled and maybe change. School Board Member is awful but at least he was willing to listen to Emily.
Wonderful men contest: Grandfather, Mr. Wakeman, or Cab? This is hard, but I think Grandfather. He irritated me in the beginning of the book too when he was proud of himself for letting her finish high school, but as the story moved along I saw that he is trying his best, deeply cares about Emily, and most importantly, I loved how their relationship progressed through out the novel. I also loved Grandfather interaction with Mr. Wakeman, Kalil, and Yusef.
Wonderful women contest: Miss Fowler the English teacher, or Miss Cobb the spinster piano teacher raising her nephew? This is an impossible choice so I am not going to chose. I love them both and they played such nice roles in the book.
Annette and Don’s engagement, Will it Last? It is NOT going to last. Her parents are against it. He is moving half way across the country, which is going to make him even more insufferable. As soon as there is some distance between them, Annette will see what a tool he is and break up with him.
Mr. Wakeman and Emily: Is he going to go back to school and write her letters, or is he settling in Deep Valley? He is going to go back to get his masters and once Grandfather passes away, Emily will find a place that she wants to study and Mr. Wakeman will follow her and get a teaching job nearby until she graduates and then they will both come back to Deep Valley and continue to teach and build progress there!
Best Self-improvement plan: Browning classes, Dance classes, or putting up her hair? Dance Classes because she starts taking them for herself. Please correct me if I am remembering this incorrectly, but she starts Browning classes because of Don gave her the book and puts up her hair because Mr. Wakeman makes a comment about how young she looks. But she joins the dance classes just because she wants to, right? It is not because of one of any of the men in her life.
Don really is The Worst!!!! See, this is why DCIB is united in hating Ranbir, despite his theoretically good liberal credentials. He’s just HORRIBLE.
Yes, some Grandpa love!!! I like how we see how hard he tries. It’s a big age and experience gap between the two of them, but by golly he buys her a graduation present, and he is eager to talk books with her, and he is excited to join in any plan she suggests. From one side we can think of Emily giving up college to be with Grandpa, but from his side, he gave up an easy retirement to spend a lot of energy taking care of this young girl.
Surely there are other nice boys at college with Annette, right? Once Don goes away to the East Coast, she isn’t going to want to sit home writing him letters, she will still be going to parties and football games and things. Some nice humble smart kind farmer’s son will sweep her off her feet. I’ll count on that.
This is the Perfect Plan!!!! Especially if Emily starts taking classes at the local college in Deep Valley, so once Grandpa passes away, she only has to do a year or so to finish out her degree. And then Mr. Wakeman can come back to Deep Valley as the new principal, and Emily can raise their kids, and 20 years later when the schools finally let married women teach, she can join the faculty and replace Miss Fowler.
I think you nailed it with the Dance Classes! Although I like that both of the other things were inspired by boys, but quickly continued beyond that until she was thinking “how funny that I only started this because of a boy”. Especially her coming to love and understand Browning more than Don. And the hair up was because of Mr. Wakeman initially, but then it turned into getting Cab to notice her and a whole new life.
On Tue, Mar 9, 2021 at 3:09 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote: