Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

My mother's name was Mercy Stone Goodwill. She was only thirty years old when she took sick, a boiling hot day, standing in her kitchen, making a Malvern pudding for her husband's supper.

Title: The Stone Diaries
Author: Carol Shields
ISBN: 9780007666232
Publisher: Ted Smart/1993
Pages: 361

born on the kitchen floor
mother died at birth
taken away from father at two months
returned to father at eleven years
from housewife to garden columnist
death at ninety in a nursing home



Another story about a woman having an uneventful life.
Housewife and mother with three children, another almost adopted.
At seventy two, travels to Canada to find her forgotten roots.

~The American Sandwich


The above two verses summarise the novel in different ways. The novel narrates the story of Daisy Goodwill, who lost her mother when she was born in Manitoba in 1903, separated from her father at two months, again lost her adopted mother at 11 years in Winnipeg in 1916, to go and live with her father, in Indiana USA. She gets an college education. In 1927 she gets married and on her Honeymoon in Paris, her husband dies.

Feeling a certain something lacking in her life, at the age of 31 she travels to Winnipeg, gets married to Barker Flett, who is twenty three years older than her and whom she called Uncle as a child. They have three children. He dies in 1955. She could have led an easy life but not so. She has always been good at gardening, a legacy from her adopted mother, Clarentine Flett. She goes on to become a garden columninst. Meanwhile her children go their various ways. One of her niece Beverly, comes to live with her and gives birth to a girl Victoria. Daisy kind of adopts both.

Daisy travels with Victoria to Manitoba to find her roots. She does find her husband Barker's father Magnus, still alive at 114 years of age but he does not remember much. It was his wife, Clarentine who had brought up Daisy. Daisy dies in a nursing home in Florida. She is almost ninety at that time.

It is a fictitious piece of work, which almost seems real at places. Daisy's life in todays context, does not appear to be much but it isn't like that. She makes a life for herself in her middle age. She is a much sought after garden columnist. Carol Shields work is not meant for everyone. I too wanted to give up reading it at one point. However, I am glad I read it. It speaks of a woman's inner thoughts and her strength too. She can succeed if she wishes to attain the heights. Certainly it doesn't make an easy read. But whoever said, a book has to be easy?!


serendipity_viv said...

I am sure this one is on the 1001 books to read before you die. They don't tend to be easy reads.

ds said...

You are right, this is not an easy read. But I loved this book, and it made Carol Shields' name (at least, here in the States). I'm glad you read it--and liked it--too.

Andy Sewina said...

hi Gautami. I think you're amazing, many thanks for posting this!!

Jo said...

I bought this afew days ago without anyreal idea what it was about. It had just been recommended! Sounds interesting though. I think I'll move it up a bit.

The Reading Momster said...

Sounds like a difficult read :)

Kristi said...

I like what you said about - whoever said a book had to be easy! It reminded me of a book I read in high school that everyone thought I was crazy - QB VII by Leon Uris - It wasn't an easy read - but 25 years later I still remember it as being a great book!

Sandra said...

Nice review. I have this book waiting on my shelf. I really should move it up on my tbr list. I rather like more difficult reads myself. Thanks for reviewing it.

Stan Ski said...

Loved the summaries; concise yet comprehensive.

Anonymous said...

I tied reading this after it first came out, but put it down and never picked it back up. Maybe one of these days I'll give it anohter try.

Geraldine said...

Sounds like a good read, thanks for sharing this Gautami.

Hugs, G

Carrie said...

Hmm. I had seen the book around but wasn't sure what it was about. I like the sound of the premise.

Thanks for the information!

Oh said...

I am so glad to see you review this one. It's a favorite of mine, not so much because of the story but because of the writing. In fact, I just listed it on my "one of those books that stays with me" list!

Anonymous said...

I have this on my Fill In The Gap 100 books Project. Thanks for the review

mee said...

Thanks! I did a quick glance of the front page and missed this review. I have the book and it's Pulitzer winner, so I feel like I should read the book, but then it doesn't sound like something I would enjoy. Probably at the right time in the future.

John Mutford said...

I'm not crazy about this one.