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Member of the Wedding

Carson McCuller's beautiful coming of age story

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The Member of the Wedding: Aching to belong

  • Jun 17, 2010

The Member of the Wedding is a carefully crafted story about a young girl on the verge of adolescence who is looking for a place to belong. Twelve-year-old Frankie Addams is bored and restless in her small Southern town in the closing days of World War II. The summer is dragging, and she spends most of her time with her widowed father’s housekeeper, Berenice Sadie Brown, and her young cousin, John Henry, when she longs to join the company of the older neighborhood girls. They snub her as too young and wild to be part of their group. The time and place come across most strongly in the unspoken rules the characters’ follow, and these contribute to Frankie’s troubles, that stem in large part from her lack of awareness. So many topics—the things Frankie needs most to know and understand—are not to be discussed. Frankie is afraid she will grow up to be a “freak” like the strange people she saw at the circus sideshow, but she dreams of growing up to have great adventures and international fame. She sees her brother’s upcoming wedding as her salvation and her escape, and she hatches a plan to leave with the newlyweds for a wonderful new life. Needless to say, things don’t work out the way Frankie hopes. Pay attention as you read: you may feel bored at first. This is part of the wonder of McCullers’s writing—through carefully chosen words and pacing she makes the reader feel what Frankie feels from boredom to irritation to surprise to being overwhelmed by the suddenness of life. 

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review by . July 06, 2010
I somehow discovered Carson McCullers much too late. First, I read the Heart is a Lonely Hunter and began reading everything I could get my hands on by her. Being from the south, albeit from a much different time, I somehow relate to her characters, her style of writing, but especially the way she describes her settings - typically sleepy, humid southern towns. The Member of the Wedding was the second novel by McCullers that I read, and although it does not have the level of action that something …
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
good book read in college
Quick Tip by . June 18, 2010
Everyone knows at least someone who is like Frankie Adams. As a result, Carson McCullers' best book of all will make you smile and feel sentimental too!
review by . April 29, 2008
This book usually gets overshadowed by her other books like Ballad of the Sad Cafe, or The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, but for me, this is her best book.  I'm not even sure I can really describe it since it's about so many things.  The story line is about a young girl who wants to play some kind of part in the celebrations surrounding her brother's wedding, but what it's really about is belonging to something.    
About the reviewer
Sam Sherman ()
Ranked #1140
My interests are about as eclectic as the contents of the typical "junk drawer." I'm a writer, so obviously I like writing and reading. And movies. And theater. I also like history and the … more
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