Reviewed By: Jennifer Jordan
Amazon US PB Amazon Canada PB
Avon Fiction 192 pages
A stunning novel. There are many, many reasons why this book is taught in many literature classes on the high school and college levels. The protagonist, Edna Pontellier, lives out the aspirations of women of this century and existentialists across the ages. Kate Chopin created a scandal when this book was released in 1899 and her work plucks the strings of the soul to this day.
Edna Pontellier lives a life considered ideal by many of her contemporaries of the late 1800s. As a wealthy wife of prestigious lineage and she has a certain standard to live up to in her class. And her entire being rebels. Edna seeks independence, emotionally and sexually, in utter disregard of the social norm. Her search for freedom reaps rewards, but mostly devastating chaos, yet she is compelled to seek an autonomy not allowed women in her time. As she explores her sexuality, her creativity comes to fruition, extolling a virtues untouched by women before her. The Victorian society in which Edna lives begins to squeeze the life out of her as she refutes all that is expected of a woman of her station. The independence she lives for casts a shadow over the life she leads and Edna is left with dire choices in the face of what is considered right and wrong.
What may seem on the surface an old fashioned book is completely modern in its subject and wonderfully lush in its depiction. Its imagery and metaphors of autonomy are persistent and incredibly timely.
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Jennifer Jordan