The Optimist's Daughter

by Eudora Welty | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 067972883x Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingKatisha50wing of Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on 4/27/2006
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingKatisha50wing from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Thursday, April 27, 2006
The Optimist's Daughter is a compact and inward-looking little novel, a Pulitzer Prize winner that's slight of page yet big of heart. The optimist in question is 71-year-old Judge McKelva, who has come to a New Orleans hospital from Mount Salus, Mississippi, complaining of a "disturbance" in his vision. To his daughter, Laurel, it's as rare for him to admit "self-concern" as it is for him to be sick, and she immediately flies down from Chicago to be by his side. The subsequent operation on the judge's eye goes well, but the recovery does not. He lies still with both eyes heavily bandaged, growing ever more passive until finally--with some help from the shockingly vulgar Fay, his wife of two years--he simply dies. Together Fay and Laurel travel to Mount Salus to bury him, and the novel begins the inward spiral that leads Laurel to the moment when "all she had found had found her," when the "deepest spring in her heart had uncovered itself" and begins to flow again. (amazon)

Journal Entry 2 by wingKatisha50wing from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Sunday, May 6, 2007
Reserved for wormyone (via forager) at the Uncon in Brighton, 2007.

Journal Entry 3 by Forager from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire United Kingdom on Sunday, July 1, 2007
Given to me by Katisha50 at the UnCon to pass on to WormyOne.

Journal Entry 4 by WormyOne from Brighton & Hove, East Sussex United Kingdom on Sunday, July 1, 2007
Thanks Katisha50 and Forager for enabling me to cross this book off my wish list.

The blurb reads:

"The Optimist's Daughter is the story of Laurel McKelva Hand, a young woman who has left the South and returns, years later, to New Orleans, where her father is dying. After his death, she and her silly young stepmother go back still farther, to the small Mississippi town where she grew up. Alone in the old house, Laurel finally comes to an understanding of the past, herself and her parents".

Journal Entry 5 by WormyOne from Brighton & Hove, East Sussex United Kingdom on Sunday, June 8, 2008
This melancholy and langorous novella is well-written and evocative. It portrays a Southern American community rallying round in a time of bereavement and explores notions of ownership of the past. Who knows an old man best? His daughter who spent all her life with him until she became an adult? Or the woman he married late in life who spent his last years with him? Is there a 'right' way to grieve? Once someone's gone, does it matter how they are remembered? It highlights how these issues are all about those left behind, not about the person who has died.

The community is beautifully drawn with members varying in the extent to which they disapprove of, or feel sympathy for, Fay, the second wife. Some dismiss her as shallow trash, other recognise that she honours her dead husband the most appropriate way she knows how.

Strangely, Laurel, the daughter and central character, is the most enigmatic and the one I'm left knowing the least.

Overall, for me, this novella, was about tolerance, and thinking the best of people.

Released 13 yrs ago (6/7/2008 UTC) at Phone box Junction High Street & Park Road in Swanage, Dorset United Kingdom

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Journal Entry 7 by mariahaversa at Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais Brazil on Sunday, August 29, 2010
The book was given to me by a friend who found it, probably where WormyOne left it. She brought it to Brazil, where we live, and now she asked me to release it in Toronto, Canada, where i'll be within 2 weeks.

Journal Entry 8 by mariahaversa at Richmond/John in Toronto, Ontario Canada on Thursday, February 24, 2011

Released 10 yrs ago (2/24/2011 UTC) at Richmond/John in Toronto, Ontario Canada

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Left in the newspaper box

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