Posts Tagged ‘Ethan Frome’

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Virginia Black Bear Cub – Photo Source Unknown

“If I expect the worst will happen and then it is the best, I am happily surprised. On the other hand, if I expect the best and the worst happens, I am sorry I didn’t think the worst to begin with.”    Quote by ~Dor

I have a blogger friend, Kate, who freely admits she magnifies simple human maladies into end-of-the-world death-approaching, devastating ailments. She makes me laugh because I see “me” in there too.

Once the question was asked at a book club meeting, “What kinds of books do you prefer?”

And there were answers like, “Mysteries, Romance, Biographies, Historical Fiction, etc.”

My answer was, “Doomsday  books.”

And everybody laughed!

Yes, it is true I love doomsday stories (fiction or non) about living through the plague, the great influenza, the civil war, the world wars, floods, hunger, and pestilence.

The first book I loved, cried over, sped through and read again and again was the American Classic,  Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton.  And I still wish I could change the ending.  Surely the doomed lovers could have positively altered the course of their lives and survived unscathed. Couldn’t they?

Progressing from that frustration I began reading powerful historic treatises on The Great Influenza, Isaac’s Storm, and yes, those stories about the plague, war, starvation, pestilence, the plight of women, etc.  I still love them all and always looking for more.

And as a result, over time, I saved life-saving tips into a collection I now call Dor’s Doomsday Survival Manual.

But  when my real-life friends look at the manual they laugh and seem to consider it a comedy.

And now you have it – the deep dark underside I have struggled so long to keep hidden, and the reason I aim to publish funny blog posts.

But I wonder if you would laugh as you browse through Dor’s manual chapters.

  • What to do if there is a bear on your deck!  Hide – plus other good ideas.
  • How to save a cat from drowning in a flood.  Float out in a sealed bucket (I just saw that on t.v.
  • How to purify water.  Clorox?  Yes, really.
  • Hidden water sources in your home.  Toilets?  Yes, really.
  • Non-perishables that will last 25 years of even hundreds of years.  Fruit cake and honey – really!
  • What to pack in a survival suitcase.  Chocolate?  Wishful thinking but there is a longer list.
  • How to prepare for the Avian Flu (or did it already come and go?)  I think the Bird Flu passed on by…. or has it?
  • What to do when food sources are low. You can live many days without food. Who knew?
  • Beware of summer storms.
  • Evacuation tips
  • Assembling a first aid kit.
  •  Tools and supplies to have at the ready.
  • A Family Disaster plan.
  • And more.

Do you think I should publish my Survival Manual as a comedy or what?

Your input is entirely welcome, but I am thinking the worst.




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Do you remember the first grown-up novel you ever read?

I do.

It was Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton

And I have never been so frustrated by the end of a book in all the years since.

I was a pre-teen who believed love would always prevail and that life was all about story book happy endings. Was I in for a surprise!

Published long ago (in 1911), this tragic story clearly portrays the struggles of the poor, the frustration of unrequited love, the sadness of human failure and the diabolical tricks of fate.  Ethan Frome transmits a realistic intensity that is as current now as in any modern cinematic drama.  I was totally mesmerized.  I could not put the little book down.  I willed it to have a happy ending, and I was hooked on reading.  I still love this amazing work of fiction, no matter the frustration of a trio of tragic destinies, and I still have the impulsive urge to rewrite the last pages.

If you have not yet read it, this is the story of a dirt-poor New England farmer (gorgeous handsome man of course), his ailing nagging shrew of a wife , their bleak landscape, the finality of constant misery, and a beautiful “hired girl” (his wife’s vivacious cousin) who arrives to be a housekeeper and who  brings joy and hope for happiness into Ethan’s life.  It’s the writing that brings everything  to life and the writing grabs you, right from the beginning.

Ethan Frome is thought by many to be Edith Wharton’s masterpiece and an American classic.  There is a film now too, starring Liam Neeson as Ethan. The movie is as poignant as the book and well worth seeing.

Do you remember the first grown-up novel you ever read?  What was it?

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