Today, when I wasn’t writing, I was listening to an old favorite book of mine, “The Girl of the Limberlost”, by Gene Stratton-Porter. I first read this book when I was very young, and I loved it dearly. When it came up on Audible, I downloaded it, and I’m enjoying the story as much as I did the first time. It was first published around 1909, and some of the phrasing is old-fashioned, but I can’t help loving Elnora Comstock, the heroine. The book opens as she is going off to high school, much against the wishes of her embittered and downright mean mother, and, of course, she’s wearing all the wrong clothes. People make fun of her, but she’s determined to get an education, and she persists, gradually making friends, finding ways to overcome a series of obstacles. I love books about strong folks who press on, no matter what. Elnora impressed me, then and now, in the same way Nancy Drew did–here was a proactive young woman with a really good brain. Wow.
Back in the day, there was no internet, and I had no notion of what the ‘Limberlost’ might be; probably because it reminded me a little of “Anne of Green Gables”, I thought it must be in Canada. Now, armed with Google, I ran a search, and set myself straight on this subject, if nothing else. The Limberlost is a swampy area in Indiana; in Stratton-Porter’s time, and Elnora’s, it was much larger than it is now, sadly.
I’m having such a good time with this book, I might just go back and read more old favorites: “Green Gables”, of course. Anya Seton’s “Katherine”. “Gone With the Wind.” “Jane Eyre” and “Rebecca.” I identified with all these heroines, except, perhaps, for Scarlet O’Hara. Even as a young girl, I wondered what kind of knuckle-head would let a man like Rhett Butler get away. Of course, Scarlet probably wasn’t meant to be a role model, more like a warning. What I did take away from this marvelous book was a lasting fascination with the Civil War.
What were your favorite books, growing up?