I'm not sure why I thought this would be a pleasant, happy story. It is Edith Wharton after all!
I've loved her work since I first read The House of Mirth and she lived a good portion of her time in Massachusetts, which is my home state. When I saw I could listen to the audio free through Prime, I downloaded it and here I am.
Written in the early 1900's, the story takes place in the fictional town of Starkfield. It's one of the few tales from Wharton that does not take place in a location of high society. It's the story of a simple man, whose life plans change so that he can care for his ailing father. Rather impulsively, he marries a sickly woman to avoid being alone after his father passes. A few years later his wife's young cousin comes to stay and their lives will change forever.
I never expected this tale to go in the way it did. It was sad and tragic for everyone involved. It's amazing to me that Wharton was capable of packing so much into a relatively short story. Perhaps it is dated in regards to its setting, but the emotions and the characters involved are still perfectly relatable in today's day and age.
I have a volume of Wharton's ghost stories that I hope to read soon. In the meantime, I will be thinking of the cold town of Starkfield and Ethan's fate.
Audience: 3rd Grade & Up
Format: Hardcover/Library copy
The thing about this, and what I seriously don't get here, is that it was Ethan.
- first sentence
Ethan is a 7th grader who has difficulty sitting still in school all day. One day, during his last period (Language Arts), he stands up and refuses to sit down despite repeated warnings from his teacher. As a result, he receives two days of after school reflection (aka detention). This begins a series of events that ends with Ethan and his sister (Erin) both competing in the Invention Day fair. The story is told from 5 different points of view - Ethan, his best friend Brian, Erin, her best friend Zoe, and troublemaker Wesley (who may not be as bad as he seems).
The story is a quick, easy read that is appropriate for kids even in 3rd grade - nothing too heavy or serious and a lot of humor will appeal to students who enjoy books like James Patterson’s Middle School series.