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Member of the Wedding

Carson McCuller's beautiful coming of age story

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from the perspective of a child...

  • Jul 6, 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 like The Heart is a Lonely Hunter has, it is an amazing work. The novel is the story of Frankie, a 12-year old girl, and her thoughts in the days leading up to her brother's wedding. Frankie dreads the world after her brother's wedding - so she decides she must either join her brother and his new wife- becoming a "member of the wedding" or simply escape after the wedding to avoid the ensuing loneliness without her brother.

I often do not much attention to the reviews on the back of books, but on the back of The Member of the Wedding, the reviewer noted that McCullers was the first to ever write a formidable novel on this subject---this subject being the dreading "coming of age" theme, and somehow the words of this particular reviewer did strike a chord with me and I really do believe that in this novel McCullers really gets into the mind of Frankie and reminds the reader of estrangement in childhood - particularly of longing to belong to adult world, while it is still looking down upon you. This feeling is captured particularly well in the short scenes during the brother's wedding and the actions between Franke & her relatives. Aside from these coming of age issues, McCullers also manages to shed light briefly on other issues - i.e. racial and political tensions in the south, that make for an interesting read 50 years after the fact...

The novel is overall a very melacholic read and oftentimes dramatic, so if you are looking for something more uplifting, I would warn you before reading The Member of the Weddiing. Otherwise, I think McCullers captures some feelings & sentiments in a very original way in this novel and her voice deserves to be heard.

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More The Member of the Wedding reviews
review by . June 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 …
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.    
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Chelsea ()
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