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Buy for $20.99
A disarmingly involving portrait of a family struggling to stay together through the Great Depression, The Cape Ann is an unforgettable story of life from a child's-eye view.
Lark Erhardt, the six-year-old narrator of The Cape Ann, and her fiercely independent mother dream of owning their own house; they have their hearts set on the Cape Ann, chosen from a house catalog. But when Lark's father's gambling threatens the down payment her mother has worked so hard to save, Lark's mother takes matters into her own indomitable hands.
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An all-time favorite finally on audiobook!
I read this book years ago, and it has honestly stuck with me for decades.
Some may not like that Lark is a bit more precocious than perhaps she should be for her age, but that did not stop me from appreciating the story from an intelligent child's perspective. I felt like she gave just the right perspective: smart enough to grasp enough of it to give us a vivid picture but without being tainted by age, pain, and hardness.
I have always felt like this was a beautiful story of a mother and daughter taking what they wanted out of life instead of settling for what life was giving them. Lark's mother knew what she wanted, and even during hard times she refused to give up and settle on her good-for-nothing husband. It reminded me, as a teenager years ago, to not settle for less than I wanted.
As far as the audible recording, I am still listening to it, but so far I'm feeling like Karissa did a great job bringing the Lark I pictured in my mind all those years ago to life. I'm super happy I discovered this book as an audiobook!
1 person found this helpful
- R. Brevitz
The narrator made it hard.
I liked this book, but Lark, the little girl who’s the heroine and narrator of the story, sometimes displays the vocabulary and insights of a much older person. Anne of Green Gables can’t match her for big words, and they’re delivered with a straight face, not a suggestion that we’re hearing a child trying to sound erudite. It’s as if her narrative voice changes to that of an adult without notification or demarcation. Also, I’m not an expert on household customs of the 1930s, but Lark has a lot of responsibilities that don’t seem to match the usual life of a six-year-old. Boiling the kettle, weeding the garden???
However, the worst thing is the narrator’s rendition of (most of) the men’s accents. The women have rather neutral accents, but the men speak in a sort of Kentucky-Tennessee drawling twang. This is not how anyone from the Upper Midwest—certainly not Minnesota—talks. It was so dissonant that I almost abandoned the book despite the fact that overall I enjoyed it very much. Aside from Lark’s grown-up responsibilities, the portrayal of small-town Midwestern life is excellent, and the story of Lark’s parents’ unhappy marriage is very believable. (Although it seems an unhappy coincidence in the extreme that both Mama and her sister, another important character, have linked themselves to similarly unappealing men.)
Finally, an important thread of the plot, an exchange between Lark’s uncle and another woman (overheard by Lark, unbeknownst to them), is left dangling. When the author practically shouts, “Something is going to come of this! Wait for it!” and the reader dutifully waits . . . and waits . . . but nothing happens, disappointment and even a sense of having been cheated is the inevitable result.
Still, I liked The Cape Ann, and except for the accent error, the narrator was fine.
Old school storytelling
This story is very much in the style of books from 30-40 years ago. The plot takes its time, often seeming like little vignettes of the lives and characters in a Depression era small town. The author doesn’t aim for plot twists, but nevertheless, the narrative has many small unexpected moments, and there are no clear answers or a neat wrap-up at the end. One major point really bothered me, though; the father, Willie, was just a terrible, abusive man, so why did his wife tolerate him for so long, and why did his daughter, Lark, want to keep the family together ?
I can’t rave enough about the narration, it was just perfect.