Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. Basically, I have hundreds of reviews on GoodReads and I want to post them over here as well. Every Friday I will post one of those old reviews. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement! Be sure to check out her fantastic blog!
I decided to read this because Thomas Wolfe was from my area and I only had to read one short story of his for an English class. I wanted to see what he was all about. This is basically the slightly fictionalized story of his childhood and young adult years growing up in the mountains of North Carolina in the early 1900's.
I read the very first sentence of this book and my heart sank. So I read it again. And again. After about the fifth reading, I finally had some idea what he was trying to say and moved on. The second and third sentences blew me away. He was an amazing writer. He wrote with a richness of imagery that is hard to find.
That being said, this book was very hard to get through. Taken a paragraph or so at a time, I could appreciate the beauty of his language. But the very beauty that I admired made the actual story drag by. And I'm very story-oriented. That's one of the reasons I only gave this three stars.
The other thing that bothered me was a small vein of racism that was present throughout the book. It's not at all the point of the story, it's just there in the background. And somehow it's made worse by the fact that there doesn't seem to be any active dislike behind it. It feels like he thinks he's just stating the facts. I tried to write it off as just being a different time period, but that didn't really work for me. It wound up detracting a lot from my enjoyment of the book.
But if you think you can overlook that, and you love beautiful language, you might enjoy this one.