I have been a reader as long as I can remember. What better way to pass the time than by getting lost in a book? The first few pages are an invitation to get lost in another world, and if the author is any good, you find yourself caught up in a story as if it were your own. You care about the characters as if they were long-lost friends or at least known enemies, and as you turn each page, you anticipate their next move. A good read never knocks you out of the story, and even if you disagree with behaviors in the book, you continue reading on, just to see how it ends.
This summer a friend recommended I give Ethan Frome another chance. The reviews were not promising. One on Goodreads described it this way: “If you’re looking for a book with an ever-increasing level of misery, this one is hard to beat. Try this test the next time you’re with a group of your friends: just mention “Ethan Frome” out loud, and see how many of them groan audibly.” Because I trust my friend’s judgement, I had to put the negative reviews aside and give it a try.
Yes, Ethan Frome is dark and depressing. There are no feel good moments in the book. What it has is fantastic writing and great characters. I cared about Ethan and wanted to know what happened next. I had a strong dislike of his wife, which he did as well. I worried about the young girl that came to their house. I was 100% invested, and once I picked up the book, did not stop reading until I finished it. The best part of the story was how it lingered in my mind for days. I found myself thinking about the story well after and encouraged my daughter to read it. It’s all about good story-telling.
I don’t always have as much time as I would like to read, but I do have a stack of books I intend to get to eventually, and continually add to the tower that perches precariously by the side of my bed. Books I’ve already read fill an obscene number of bookcases throughout my house. It’s funny how the place you are in your life shapes your experience of reading a book, whether you’re reading it for the first time, or picking it up again several years later. Sometimes a dark, depressing story is just what the doctor ordered. I loved Ethan Frome and highly recommend it to anyone looking to get lost in a book.