"So Big" won the Pulitzer Prize in 1924 and is considered by many to be Edna Ferber's best novel.
The story follows Selina Peake DeJong whose father was a gambler and was killed by mistake.
Selina was only nineteen at the time in 1888 and she surprises her friends in that she doesn't want to go to live with her two aunts in Vermont. Instead, she shows her independence and determination to succeed on her own. She gets a job as a school teacher at the Dutch school in High Plains, ten miles outside of Chicago.
At her first social event, she makes a picnic basket that will be auctioned off. Men bid on the baskets that the women make and then get to share the meal with the woman who prepared the food in the basket.
Being from the city, Selina prepares tasty items and puts the food in a small box, tied by a ribbon.
When the bidding begins, the auctioneer ridicules this small item but men begin bidding larger and larger amounts. One farmer wins at an exorbitant price. Pervus DeJong tells her that he felt badly when others began laughing and admits that he has no schooling. Selina agrees to teach him.
During these sessions, Pervus receives book learning and Selina learns about the farm from him. They become attracted to each other and marry.
This enjoyable novel tells of the hardships of farming before the turn of the century when there were no tractors or automobiles to get farm products to markets, nor were there any telephones when there were emergencies.
When Selina's son, Dirk, is born, she wants to make sure that he will grow up in a world of books and literature and have more from his life.
This is an important literary work and when tragedy strikes Selina shows that she can succeed in a world where men usually rule.
The story also describes the progress that is made and improvements to the farm. As Dirk grows older, his relationship with his mother is strong and loving.
This is a well written novel in the realistic literary style and a work that deserved winning the Pulitzer Prize.
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