I'm sensing everyone is bursting to talk about the book now that they have finished or are nearly finished.
I know for certain that Tammy NEEDS to talk about it before she forgets her brilliant observations (many of which will make their appearance here over the next couple of days).
The particular conversation that I'd like to have today has already been started by Donna over at Quiet Life and by a number of you in the comment section of Moving at the Speed of Wendell (the post before the party.)
The observation many of you have pointed out is that Hannah seems to be lacking joy when she speaks of her grown children. I noticed this, too and I have a theory that I'd like to throw out for the purpose of discussion. I wondered if it was too early to talk in such broad terms about this book but I think we can handle it, don't you?
I'll just come out with it. (You have to be brave sometimes.)
I think Hannah's attitude toward the choices her grown children make is Wendell being critical of those choices. It's difficult for me to read it any other way. In Part One, Hannah is a real person to me that I can relate to, but by the end of Part Two she has become a mouthpiece, full of opinions and not afraid to spout them.
What do you think?
Part of the problem with Part Two for me is that she seems cold toward and critical of the paths her children have chosen. I have difficulty imagining myself reacting that way seeing my children carve a way for themselves in the world and being content. I think Margaret is a separate story but certainly her boys chose things they loved and they succeeded at them. It's as if Wendell is saying that the Branches made a better choice by choosing to stay, continuing to farm and carrying on the old ways.
It's as if the relationship she has with her children is dependent on their proximity to Port William, not on their blood line. I can understand the loss of their leaving but I can't understand the loss of relationship once they are gone. It would seem to me a better argument for a Port William way of life if the author portrayed its residents as capable of producing relationships that transcend a place.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this and I invite you to agree or disagree at will. There are no right answers here, right? Just good discussion.
I also think Hannah would root for the Cardinals today.
And that's the last opinion in this post.
Thank you all for your wonderful birthday wishes!
I am blessed beyond measure,