“Read it in a American History class at Transylvania University.”Stephenie wrote this review 2 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“All year, my daughter has been recommending books to me from her AP Literature class that she thought I would enjoy. "Ethan Frome" was actually one assignment that she did NOT enjoy. Her class also watched the movie, and she was quite critical of the plot of both book and movie. She said I might as well try it, as it is only 77 pages (in Dover Thrift edition), and she knew I could read a book of that length in an afternoon.
Still, my daughter's criticisms intrigued me, and while I waited for my copy of the book to arrive, I watched the movie. Aside from the acting of Liam Neeson, which I thought was quite good, I agreed with her opinion of the movie. In fact, I became so bored by the movie, I started skipping scenes toward the end.
Then the book came in. By page one, I was immediately captured by Wharton's prose. Wharton had a wonderful style, and her writing so captured the essence of the longing and unsatisfied passions of the characters. The New England winters were the perfect settings for Ethan's despair, being trapped by his lack of money, failing business, and loveless marriage. It was a very human story, with very human impulses. The movie played in my head as I read, and I appreciated the movie more with every turn of the page. Although this story was definitely better in book form, I can appreciate the movie now, having read the book.
I ended up really liking "Ethan Frome"; the last sentence of the book was like magic (no spoilers!) I think said daughter who did not like this book as assigned reading in the 12th grade, may appreciate it more if she re-reads it 20 years from now.
Excellent book. I shall have to look into reading more of Wharton.
“I was warned that this book is bland and uninteresting, but I thought "Surely it's not as bad as everyone has been telling me!" Well, I wished I had listened to them. Wharton uses an abundance of details to describe the setting and the characters and the back stories, but when it came down to describing the plot and what was physically happening, she would use phrases like, 'They did _____. Then they did _____. After a while, they did ______.' which made for a very boring reading.”Julianna S. wrote this review Wednesday, April 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“short (120 pages), classic, DEPRESSING”Karen wrote this review Saturday, April 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The people are forlorn, threadbare, emotionally stunted, and cantankerous, and somehow the combination makes me laugh. This may be the most fun I’ve ever had with a century-old classic.
This novel might be best described as a New England horse and buggy romantic tragedy, if not for all the Yankee one-liners. Wharton’s language is spare and direct, befitting the snow blanket landscape. There’s no love lost between Ethan and his bitter ever-ailing wife. Cousin Mattie adds a breath of life to their home, and that is clearly dangerous.
The unlabeled epilogue is jarring, and the location of the various villages, farms and trails gets confusing. This is especially frustrating, because local travels and distances are very important to the storyline. But it’s not problematic enough to ruin the fun of gawking at the absurdity of Frome’s unhappy home.
“Another unusual book by Edith Wharton. My heart went out to Ehtan Frome and his sad plight. I found myself with a plethora of emotions. Sadness, frrustration, joy, hope.....all of those feelings that Edith is so good at writing about. If you enjoy Edith Wharton's writing, you'll want to read this unusal story. ”Joen W wrote this review Friday, March 29, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“it was bad ”TheDoctaIzIn wrote this review Thursday, March 28, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is a classic first published in1911. Don’t worry, it’s a short one. It’s set in a cold and bleak Massachusetts village where all you see is miles and miles of endless snow. Ethan Frome is married to Zeena. Zeena is no princess warrior. She is an unhappy, sickly shrew of a woman who does not make Ethan’s life easy. Given her failing health, Zeena’s cousin, Mattie, comes to help around the house. Mattie is a breath of fresh air for Ethan. She’s beautiful and she’s nice, and Ethan hasn’t seen nice in a long time. Though they don’t act on it, the attraction is obvious, and Zeena is not happy. No surprise there. One day Zeena leaves town on a two-day trip for a treatment to help with her illness. This is their chance. Do they take it?
I won’t give away the ending, but it’s not what I expected. I will say I really liked the book and I wonder what others think of it.
Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com”
“Very good book.”Edwin L. Brawley wrote this review Thursday, March 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“My favorite of Edith Wharton's novels are those set in the center of the New York Society of the "Gilded Age". By contrast Ethan Frome is set in the fictional New England town of Starkfield, where an unnamed narrator tells the story of his encounter with Ethan Frome, a man with dreams and desires that end in an ironic turn of events. The narrator tells the story based on an account from observations at Frome's house when he had to stay there during a winter storm.
The novel is framed by an extended flashback. The first chapter opens with an unnamed narrator spending a winter in Starkfield. He attempts to learn about the life of a mysterious local figure named Ethan Frome, a man who had been injured in a horrific “smash-up” twenty-four years before. Frome is described as “the most striking figure in Starkfield”, “the ruin of a man” with a “careless powerful look…in spite of a lameness checking each step like the jerk of a chain”. Throughout the novel Ethan Frome makes ample use of symbolism as a literary device. Reminiscent of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (also set in New England), Edith Wharton uses the color red against the snowy white background of her Massachusetts setting to symbolize Ethan's cousin Mattie’s attraction and vitality as opposed to his wife Zeena, as well as her temptation to Ethan in general. Wharton uses the cat and the pickle dish to symbolize the failing marriage of Ethan and Zeena; the cat symbolizes Zeena’s presence when Ethan and Mattie are alone, and when it breaks the pickle dish, this symbolizes the final fracturing of the marriage that is rapidly coming as Mattie and Ethan slide closer and closer to adultery.
The story is tragic and very dark in character. Yet Wharton's prose style makes it worth every moment spent reading about Ethan Frome.”