by Edna Ferber
What Amazon Says
The story follows the life of a young woman, Selina Peake De Jong, who decides to be a school teacher in farming country. During her stay on the Pool family farm, she encourages the young Roelf Pool to follow his interests, which include art. Upon his mother’s death, Roelf runs away to France. Meanwhile, Selina marries a Dutch farmer named Pervus. They have a child together, Dirk, whom she nicknames “So Big.” Pervus dies and Selina is forced to take over working on the farm to give Dirk a future. As Dirk gets older, he works as an architect but is more interested in making money than creating buildings and becomes a stock broker, much to his mother’s disappointment. His love interest, Dallas O’Mara, an acclaimed artist, tries to convince Dirk that there is more to life than money. Selina is visited by Roelf Pool, who has since become a famous sculptor. Dirk grows very distressed when, after visiting his mother’s farm, he realizes that Dallas and Roelf love each other and he cannot compete with the artistically minded sculptor. The book was inspired by the life of Antje Paarlberg in the Dutch community of South Holland, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. It won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1925.
I first read this book years ago when I was in college and found it fascinating. When it was recently slated for discussion by one of the book groups in which I participate, I thought it worth a second read, especially since I’d forgotten how it ended. Had I read the above synopsis from Amazon, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to reread the book.
Although I enjoyed reading it a second time, in my opinion, the ending leaves too much to the reader’s imagination. I would have liked to see more loose ends tied up. Otherwise, this is a great story of determination in the face of hardship that teaches important life lessons and encourages the reader to ponder on whether money or beauty is more important.
By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.
New! The Red Dress
Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books
When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.
Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.