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A Girl of the Limberlost

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S long been seen as an agricultural plain But to make it a lucrative farming state much of the land had to be deforested leaving behind devastated habitats The Limberlost a wetland in northern Indiana was mostly destroyed by drainage logging and oil production Gene Stratton Porter an early 20th century naturalist and novelist captured the fading beauty of the swamp in books like A Girl of t. A Girl of the Limberlost is one of those true treasures of the book world one I personally never wo Relief of the land had to be deforested leaving behind devastated habitats The Limberlost a wetland in northern Indiana was mostly destroyed by drainage logging and When A Bitch Fed Up oil production Gene Stratton Porter an early 20th century naturalist and novelist captured the fading beauty Enter the 5th Realm (Tales of the Whosawhachits, of the swamp in books like A Girl The World of the Hunger Games of t. A Girl Top Bikini Pictures: Hot Women in Brazilian, String, White, Red, Gold, Brown, Orange, Metallic, Transparent, Extreme and Many Other Styles and Models Bikini Book. of the Limberlost is Portrait of the Alcoholic one Belgravia of those true treasures Lay Down with Dogs - Get Up with Fleas of the book world Birth in Storm one I personally never wo

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Set amid Indiana's vast Limberlost Swamp this treasured children's classic mixes astute observations on nature with the struggles of growing up in the early 20th century Harassed by her mother and scorned by her peers Elnora Comstock finds solace in natural beauty along with friendship independence and romance Synopsis from Huffington Post Cornfields soy fields alfalfa fields ― Indiana ha. A weak 3 stars I have some GR friends who are into old timey books I had great luck with their reco

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He Limberlost a novel about a smart ambitious girl who lives in the dwindling wetland with her mother and pays for school by collecting local moth specimens to sell to naturalists The book isn’t exactly an environmentalist tract but it makes the case nonetheless It celebrates the beauty and richness of the swampland while showing how easily economic forces push landowners to strip it away. This nostalgic story was written in 1906 but has rather surprising relevance to today's culture Wel

10 thoughts on “A Girl of the Limberlost

  1. says:

    A weak 3 stars I have some GR friends who are into old timey books I had great luck with their recommend of Daddy Long Legs so when A Girl of the Limberlost written in 1909 was also highly recommended I was all up for another delightful old fashioned experience Anne Shirley make way for Elnora Comstock okay Elnora was losing ground already with that name but outdated names kind of come with the territory here so I was still optimisticAt the beginning of the book Elnora is a 16 year old girl from the Limberlost swamp area You might be forgiven for thinking that we're in the Louisiana bayous I was certainly confused thinking to myself where are the Cajuns? Where are the man eating gators? How come the only wildlife I'm hearing about is moths and butterflies? Well it turns out the Limberlost swamp is in Indiana Personally I'd call it wetlands rather than a swamp but what do I know?Anyway Elnora's dearest wish is to continue with her schooling so she convinces her mean cruel mom who won't let her buy any nice clothing or books or give her money for school tuition to let her go to the high school in town where all the girls make fun of her out of date clothing clumpy shoes ugly hair and countrified ways some spoilers in the rest of this reviewBut this being a Horatio Alger kind of story Elnora finds a way to prevail become beautiful gorgeous and win over the Mean Girls not to mention dangerous criminals who lurk in the swamp local urchins her hateful literally mother and pretty much everyone else who crosses her path whilst becoming valedictorian of the school and collecting rare moths to sell to collectors to pay for her own schooling The elusive Yellow Empress moth nka Golden EmperorAfter we've had enough of the high school scene we uickly skip three years to when Elnora is graduating and thinking about going to college She's still living by the swamp but because this is that sort of story luckily a handsome wealthy intelligent and kind young man comes to the Limberlost to visit for the summer He's pretty much perfect in every way except he's engaged to the Most Beautiful Girl Ever Who will Phillip choose Elnora or the stunning socialite Edith? Far be it from me to spoil the story and ruin your fun Go get a free copy on Project Gutenberg or somewhereI kid about the old fashioned predictable aspects of this story and the Mary SueGary Stu characters you get both two for the price of one because when it's done well I actually love this sort of thing But there's just not enough humor in Girl of the Limberlost for me and the Victorian Age moralism gets tiresome people waste away for the love of someone they can't have and righteous self sacrifice runs amok until I just wanted to slap some of these characters upside the head and tell them to uit being so idiotically dramatic and noble A Girl of the Limberlost is also dated in some ways I found unsettling than usual YAY for drilling oil wells cutting down trees and collecting and killing beautiful moths by the hundreds for collections; and ladies realizing that true happiness is found primarily in being a sweet supportive wife and raising the children I'm personally on the moderateconservative side of the spectrum but this was some pretty eyebrow raising stuff even for me A few sample uotesAny day you say the word you can sell six thousand worth of rare timber off this place easy I'll see to clearing and working the fields cheap as dirt for Elnora's sake I'll buy you cattle to fatten All you've got to do is sign a lease to pull thousands from the ground in oil as the rest of us are doing all around youMoth collectingI had over two hundred eggs said Elnora but some of them didn't hatch and some of the caterpillars died but there must be at least a hundred perfect ones Young woman that's the rarest moth in America said the Bird Woman solemnly If you have a hundred of them they are worth a hundred dollars according to my list I can use all that are not damaged On the other hand the author does acknowledge that these things have a costMen all around were clearing available land The trees fell wherever corn would grow The swamp was broken by several gravel roads dotted in places around the edge with little frame houses and the machinery of oil wells Wherever the trees fell the moisture dried the creeks ceased to flow the river ran low and at times the bed was dry With unbroken sweep the winds of the west came gathering force with every mile and howled and raved; threatening to tear the shingles from the roof blowing the surface from the soil in clouds of fine dust and rapidly changing everything From coming in with two or three dozen rare moths in a day in three years' time Elnora had grown to be delighted with finding two or threeAnd here's the 1909 view of the proper role of womenIf you could have your choice you wouldn't have a society wife either In your heart you'd like the smaller home of comfort the furtherance of your ambitions the palatable meals regularly served and little children around you I am sick of all we have grown up to You find out what you want to do and be that is a man's work in the world and I will plan our home with no thought save your comfort I'll be the other kind of a girl as fast as I can learn I can't correct all my faults in one day but I'll change as rapidly as I canThere is uite a bit of old fashioned charm in A Girl of the Limberlost but there are also some not so appealing parts Whether they'll overwhelm the nostalgic charm depends on the person reading it

  2. says:

    It was a joy to read this book; such a good story and what great characters This style of writing I would even call it a genre of it's own you just don't see any It is probably lost and gone forever gone with the likes of Louisa May Alcott LM Montgomery Laura Ingalls Wilder and with this writer Gene Stratton Porter In my opinion this novel was her finest work and I count it as one of the hidden gems of literature

  3. says:

    Childrens' books like A Girl of the Limberlost remind me of the instruction manuals that come with furniture that you have to assemble yourself They are assembly instructions for morality Life is so easy and there are little stick people on the pages to show you how it is all done successfully I adored Little Women when I was a kid for example but in recent years I've tried to re read it a couple of times and I can't get past the part where Marmie makes the girls give up their Christmas breakfast so that the starving German children won't die of cold and hunger It's so simple If we give up a little of what is ours and have kind of a crappy Christmas but pretend it's fun our parents and God by association will love us It's not that I disagree with the message that unselfishness makes us better and even happier people and I know if I ever have a daughter I will read her Little Women I just think that the delivery is too simplistic to be very honest and it kind of gives me the creeps I had that same creepy and confused feeling reading A Girl of the Limberlost I would not say I'm appalled at anyone who loves this book and the person who recommended it to me is a dear friend but I can't let this reading pass without noting how uncomfortable it makes meThis book was written 100 years ago about a generation after Little Women While Little Women is a uintessential example of American morality lessons A Girl of the Limberlost is American capitalism through and through The central struggle of the book is a basic Cinderella plot wherein the beautiful Elnora has been caged in the Limberlost forest by her mother who became bitter and mean after the death of Elnora's father They own a huge amount of land and timber note word choice where Elnora catches moths and butterflies and communes with nature Elnora however is basically a genius on top of being the most naturally beautiful girl anyone has met so she wants to go to high school in the nearby town and her stingy mother will not buy her the clothes and books necessary to do so All of this we know within the first few chapters of the book and it's pretty obvious whose side we're on right? Gotta go with Cinderella not the evil motherStratton Porter makes it very obvious that the reader is intended to see how selfish and unreasonable the mother's argument is for not giving Elnora the fancy clothes she wants no sorry needs and Elnora is presented as a purely heroic character without any intention of irony that I could detect It was very conflicting then to be 100% on the mother's side of the argument I'll give you a selection of how the argument is characterized throughout the book to see if you agree This is from a moment in which Elnora runs in a panic to her friend the Bird Woman because her mother didn't buy her a new dress for graduation Elnora she said Forgive me but tell me truly Is your mother so extremely poor as to make this necessary?No answered Elnora Next year I am heir to my share of over three hundred acres of land covered with almost as valuable timber as was in the Liberlost We adjoin it There could be dozens of oil wells drilled that would yield to us the thousands our neighbors are draining from under us and the bare land is worth over one hundred dollars an acre for farming She is not poor she is I don't know what she is A great trouble soured and warped herKind of creepy no? If you love your kids you'll kill the forest And this Drill baby drill theme runs through the whole book Elnora denudes the Limberlost of moths because she can sell them to pay for school At the same time she represents nature within the book because she loves the forest and knows everything about animals and plants So we learn if we really love and understand nature we use it to get us the stuff we want I think there's a cartoon version of this story on Fox News starring Sarah Palin It kind of makes me mad that a tree died to print this book It was also a reality check for my own behavior in the opposite way of what was intended because it always seems vague to me when people talk about the ramifications of our behavior on people 100 years from now This made it much real because I kept wanting to get in my time machine patent pending and fly back to get this ridiculous girl not to replace the forest with farms and oil wells I hope no one feels like that about me in 2109Aside from my problems with all of the basic messages of the book and my problem with a side story that makes me very uncomfortable about a very Dickensian street urchin and his family it had a fairly engaging plot I'm a sucker for love stories to the point that even if I really dislike everything else I still want to see the love story play out in a book This one also had the bonus of every woman in the story learning that if she devoted her entire existence to her husband and kids she would find true happiness shudder

  4. says:

    A Girl of the Limberlost is one of those true treasures of the book world one I personally never would have uncovered if it weren’t for my notion to do Booking It Across the US I was at a loss for an Indiana book there weren’t an abundance of titles that I recognized but when I called on Twitter Allison of The Allure of Books answered with Gene Stratton Porter I adore hidden classics though I admit there are uite a few not so hidden ones I really need to get to and so I commenced to reading the free e book version that is the delight of classic lovers everywhere if you are unaware out of copyright works are most often available in free e formats I fell in love That special kind of book love that you know will last a lifetime and reuire many rereadings I purchased a physical copy within 5 minutes of finishing the digital one–I had to have it Reading A Girl of the Limberlost for the first time reminded me a bit of my first readings of Louisa May Alcott–only perhaps even wonderful because while I’d seen movie versions of Little Women prior to reading that book I had no idea where A Girl of the Limberlost would lead me story wise I do love a girl who knows her heart and mind and I find that in both Elnora and my dear Jo they are a reminder that what is instinctual and what is necessary to be happy are not always one and the sameIn a way Elnora is admittedly a bit of a Mary Sue–before Mary Sues were really a thing Which I suppose made her the admirable type for me rather than the eye rolly one Instead of being a character to scoff at she becomes a heroine to aspire to Gene Stratton Porter creates this character whose heart is so large and desires only love and fulfillment but never demands it at the cost of others She is a hard worker a devout learner and friend with ambitions that extend beyond what her meager upbringing would have normally been laid before her The fact that she is so noble as to refuse the man she loves rather than be a second choice in his heart don’t you worry–there’s a happy ending the resilience and insistence that she be absolutely certain of everyone’s coming out of a situation to the best advantage her ability to forgive her mother years of misguided cruelty for a future of love–these are the ualities that make Elnora unforgettableIn setting Gene Stratton Porter manages to enfold us in the Limberlost making these Indiana woods and town feel real and true to us than so many other books are able to manage It’s no small wonder that the author has exhibits commending her locally as she manages in a mere two novels to bring the Limberlost to the world The enterprising young Elnora spends her days collecting and searching for the moths that populate the area and in so doing we gain a picture of the woods as they are in day and in night the beautiful and the unsavoryI loved the notion of a young girl earning her own way through school and aspiring to college when her mother supports her neither monetarily or morally While the first half of this novel could be admittedly slow I still very much enjoyed following Elnora from a naive bright eyed girl to a woman rich in friendship love and knowledge That said it was the second half of the book that’d be the half with the romantic bits that really caught my heart I can see myself picking this one up and reading from the chapter where Elnora and Philip first meet over and over again I love that Gene Stratton Porter doesn’t make her romance easy she makes it a downright health concern For so many pages my heart was in my throat with worry and suspense not knowing how this life would pan out for Elnora Philip and his fiancee oooh see that–scandalous Edith This book shows so clearly how we can be blinded by the affections of youth and begin to take our relationships for granted It is a book full of heartache desire and a warmth for others that really know the heart of you far beneath the surfaceA Girl of the Limberlost is in fact a companion novel to Gene Stratton Porter’s earlier work Freckles You by no means have to read these two books in order I didn’t however if you are like me you will fall so deeply in love with Elnora and this place that you will want to read all about the man Freckles and his Angel that repeatedly save her A Girl of the Limberlost is a beautiful representation of Indiana as place and a book that the state should be and is proud of If this unarguable hidden classic has slipped beneath your radar I cannot stress sincerely my hope that you pick it up I am endlessly in awe of Gene Stratton Porter’s ability to represent these people in such a way that their life journeys seem timeless their trials as near and true as any contemporary novel of today It is a perfect example of the reality that times traditions and technologies may change but human nature never will This novel was easily my favorite pick of the entirety of Booking It Across the US and one of my all time favorites to bootOriginal review posted at Bunbury in the Stacks

  5. says:

    First and foremost you ask what is a Limberlost? My wife will tell you it's a fairly accurate description of my posture at my decrepit age but however true that may be it's irrelevant to Gene Stratton Porter's most famous novel The Limberlost is actually a famous forest area in eastern Indiana where the author and her husband made their initial wealth Today a portion of it operates as a state historical site with tourists able to tour the cabin which looks like this Of course by the time Porter died at 60 a millionaire off her writing this house wasn't fit for a closet Instead she was building a massive Bel Air mansion while living in a cottage on Catalina Island dictating her final words to a secretary because that's what a sweet life writing will get you Until the streetcar plows into your chauffeured limo and kills you before you can move into your mansion that is Still considering by that time you've written 5 of the only 55 novels ever to sell than a million copies by 1924 you can probably say you've accomplished what you're going to in lifeWe read this book for our opening week of a class on coming of age novels and youth culture fiction GIRL is a book that countless women remember fondly mainly because of Elnora's struggle to overcome poverty and make her way in the world by collecting moths for a mysterious creature known as The Birdwoman not of Alcatraz Poverty is a misnomer here because Elnora's mother has money she's just a cheap resentful hag who must outgrow her hagitude to love her daughter the way Elnora deserves Indeed it's fair to say it's Kate Comstock and other characters in the book who must grow up for Elnora's unerring goodness makes adults and other teens around her painfully aware of their shortcomings We spent most of our class talking about Mama's psychology instead of Elnora's which was a bit weird because this is is a class about adolescents in fiction not in wrinkly embittered mothers The reality is Elnora's a bit of a cipher She doesn't so much struggle with pride greed temptation etc as other Victorian and post Victorian children must do; she's mainly here to romp in the woods chase butterflies and saw Turkey in the Straw on the fiddle so that those of us who didn't grow up in sylvan splendor can feel deprived In other words this is American Pastoral without any hint of the American BerserkThe weird thing is that this may be a naturalist novel but it's not a conservationist novel as descriptions of it might seem The Limberlost is here to be turned into money Elnora reaps 300 a pop for a Yellow Empress moth and when Mama comes to her senses she agrees to sell off part of her land and drill for oil so Elnora can have the pretty dresses a good middle class girl is ordained to enjoy I supposed I'd be out camphoring the little flutterbellies too for 300 I've sold plasma for less than that but it's a definite departure from Victoria children's fiction to have Elnora revel in all the goodies her money buys her including lavish toiletries which only a couple of decades earlier would ensure she was on the road to LimberhellFor me the novel went off the rails about 45 of the way through in the obligatory romance plot where Elnora suares off against Edith Carr for the affections of one of the all time wet noodle suitors Phil Ammons Actually Elnora doesn't compete for Phil; she lets Edith show herself for the vain silly fool she is and tells Phil to poo or get off the pot when it comes to picking his wife She has better things to do like deforest the American wilderness The novel really gives readers a stiff case of whiplash when we suddenly leave Indiana and head for Petoskey MI a tourist trap if there ever was one in the early 20th century where Elnora is advised by the hero of Porter's previous bestseller Freckles Why a teenage girl would take advice from an adult male who calls himself Freckles is a uestion not even Nabokov could answer but Freckles's advice is naturally as profound as anything Joel Osteen Oprah or Humbert Humbert could ever come up with follow your heart It's probably no mystery what happens at the end of the book Go Ask Alice this is notAgain this book is fondly remembered by a lot of folks who read it in childhood and it's not hard to understand why Like a lot of pre 1920s youth fiction it grants young women an imaginative space where they can be adventurers scientists mother figures and economically independent entrepreneurs without the necessity of depending on men at least until the writer's publisher reminds her that a girl's book must end in marriage Once Porter made her millions she unburdened herself of her dull druggist hubsand While she was building her Bel Air mansion he was living in a boardinghouse NOTE TO MEN It pays not to be jerks to womenTo me the most interesting character was the most dislikable Edith Carr As Janet Malcolm noted a few years ago in an NYRB essay Edith seems a neurotic harbinger of Fitzgerald's flappers So she's a good transition into our next week's read THIS SIDE OF PARADISE In the end to me GIRL is a nice break from modern teenage angst but I can't help but feel it's also an adult's idealization of what an adolescent should be obedient intuitively moral and absolutely immune to the baleful influence of corrupted adults including the creepy perv tramp who peeps into her bedroom window only to feel instantly terrible about being a creepy perv and become her protector among the roving gangs of tramps To put it another way Elnora is a kid who can raise herself Call me when you get out of high school girl I'll be on Catalina Island dictating my next novel while chauffeured in my limo Just let me finish my draft before that streetcar comes barreling

  6. says:

    This is literally my favorite book ever I love it sooo muchWhy do I love it? The characters the setting the plot the message take your pick It features a heroine you can't help but love Elnora smart and has a great sense of right and wrong However I wouldn't call her a Mary Sue She has her faults they're just not talked about a lot ;Then there's the hero I admit one can get a little frustrated at him view spoilerIs it Edith or Elnora already?? hide spoiler

  7. says:

    So Much Has Been Lost“Elnora caught the large yellow empress moth in her hands and exclaimed ‘What a beautiful moth Please Philip get me some cyanide so after it has dies I can stick apin in this lovely specimen’” ParaphrasedWhen I was young girl I stuck pins in insects and displayed them on a large piece of cardboard for a reuired school project Back then I thought nothing of it Now I think that it a horrible cruel thing to do and I believe that my trip to a a natural History Museum in San Francisco changed my mind Everything in the museum was dead It was depressing for I thought of how the animal’s lives had been cut short Gene Stratton Porter was a naturalist that lived in Indiana near the Limberlost Swamp that she wrote about in this book There is a museum there now and not far away is the home in which she last lived I read about the Limberlost a few years ago and what I remember if I remember correctly is that a man with the nickname of Limber got lost in the swamp and never returned so the name Limberlost Elnora and her mother lived on the edge of the swamp Her dad had fallen into the Limberlost Swamp the day she was born He like Limber never returned Due to his death her mother became imbittered and cruel She had no love for her only child Yet Elnora grew up to be a kind and lovely woman Elnora wished to go to high school and then to college but she could not afford to buy books or the right clothes She had spent years collecting moths and butterflies and no sooner than she had begun school and had been laughed at by the other girls due to her way of dressing she saw a sign in a window saying that they would pay good preices for for moths and butterflies This saved her from disgrace And all I ever remembered about this book was not that she had gone to school and had been laughed at but that she was always collecting moths I might add It was one of my most favorite books and I would have given it five stars back then so five stars it remainsI also forgot that she met children on the road to school who were starving so she gave them her lunch and that she had become popular with the girls I even forgot about her horrible mother or that there was a love story I just loved nature And ever thought about how I would all look back in time and remember how once there had beautiful butterflies in our gardens and at night we had large beautiful moths like that yellow empress

  8. says:

    This nostalgic story was written in 1906 but has rather surprising relevance to today's culture Well crafted and uniue the issues covered include bullying parental neglect extramarital affair unhealthy grief peer pressure alcoholism window peeping depression and class culture clashes Elnora is a teenage girl with many factors making life difficult In true American spirit she rises above the odds and educates herself and teaches others how to treat her She achieves not only an education but becomes a musical virtuoso and esteemed local scientist and don't forget about finding true love

  9. says:

    What a delightful book Beautiful on its own it is a a superior seuel to Freckles It reminded me of Anne of Green Gables and An Old Fashioned Girl with scenes of Pride and Prejudice think of Darcy's aunt visiting Lizzie Unlike Laddie this was gripping from the very start and like Laddie was rich with beautiful descriptions An extremely well done story that will be revisited by me many times in the future

  10. says:

    Elnora Comstock leaves deep in the Limberlost swamp of Indiana with her mother who hates her and a kindly childless couple next door The year is approximately 1909 and fifteen year old Elnora is going to high school if she has to die trying Her mother rails abuse at her while Wesley and Margaret Sinton have to sneak behind her mom’s back to help herAt first Elnora sticks out terribly The town kids bully her for her threadbare hopelessly out of fashion old clothes and naïve manners Not to mention she’s too poor to even buy textbooksBut in the first of many brilliant decisions and a few inexplicable stupid ones Elnora decides to earn some money by trading moth specimens with a mysterious figure known as the Bird Woman The Limberlost is fairly crawling with different kinds of moth As she captures the little creatures Elnora has no idea that those moths aren’t just paying for her education—they will become the catalyst that turns her youth into her adulthoodAs she perseveres at school she is alternately abused and admired by her mother who has been bitter and paranoid about everything since the drowning of her husband which happened on the very day that Elnora was born The deceased Mr Comstock is a mysterious presence in the book with a negative legacy that is slowly destroying a local woman and a positive one that flourishes in his daughterElnora eventually makes friends among her schoolmates and also takes pity on a starving child named Billy who is stuck in the swamp with his raging alcoholic father and no food Billy is eventually adopted by the Sintons and while he starts out feral he strives to be a little gentleman and please themAfter graduating high school Elnora discovers that she lacks the funds to pay for college Her mom is now on her side for good and they spend all their time hunting for swamp moths to trade for cash On one of these expeditions they cross paths with a handsome rich young man from the city—Philip Ammon who loves moths as much as Elnora does It is inevitable and right that the two young people fall for each other but in his pampered youth he made some bad judgment calls—namely an engagement to a narcissistic and cruel society belle—that prevent an honorable unionAnd that society belle Edith Carr is a veritable Fury from Hell when something gets in her wayIf you like LM Montgomery’s novels I think this book is a safe bet for you Porter clearly had a deep love for the Limberlost region which I had never even heard of before reading this book and now it feels familiar to me In this beloved landscape lively and likable characters wander making mistakes and learning from them helping each other and honoring God Elnora like many of her fellow fin de siècle heroines is pretty and clever and skilled and may sometimes seem implausible Butview spoiler as the last part of the book proves she can take self sufficiency and propriety too far to the point that Philip becomes wild with worry and his latent illness is aggravated Granted she couldn’t have known that he would overreact like he did but a wiser young woman would hopefully have known not to push him that far in the first place hide spoiler

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