Customer Reviews for

My Antonia

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Top 10 American novel published during 20th century

Since contemporary novels seldom draw me in and retain my interest past the first 60 pages, I sometimes pursue the bookstore for quality classic literature that I have yet to read. Thanks B&N for including Willa Cather's My Antonia in your Classic Series. Although relat...
Since contemporary novels seldom draw me in and retain my interest past the first 60 pages, I sometimes pursue the bookstore for quality classic literature that I have yet to read. Thanks B&N for including Willa Cather's My Antonia in your Classic Series. Although relatively well-educated and well-read, I discovered this novel when browsing in-store. Cather's story-telling style and vivid descriptions transported me to a different time and place while her character development prompted me to continue reading. The quality of the story made it a page-turner and one of the two novels I have enjoyed reading most in the last 10 years.

posted by JSAlex000 on June 26, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

My Antonia

A young Jim Burden is sent west in the early 1900's to live with his grandparents. On the train to his new house meets a young girl a couple of years older than he is. Although he doesn't know it, this is the beginning of a long-lasting friendship. After settling int...
A young Jim Burden is sent west in the early 1900's to live with his grandparents. On the train to his new house meets a young girl a couple of years older than he is. Although he doesn't know it, this is the beginning of a long-lasting friendship. After settling into his house on the plains of Nebraska, he ventures out to greet his new neighbor. Antonia Shimerda is her name and her family had immigrated from Bohemia. As Jim grows up he has many experiences with Antonia. When Jim is twelve, he and his family move into the nearby town, Black Hawk. Antonia also goes into town to find work. Because they belong to separate 'classes' they start to separate. As Jim settles down and continues his education, Antonia goes wild and goes to every town dance possible. After a failed marriage and an unwanted baby, Antonia moves back into the country to help her family's farm. Jim, meanwhile, transfers from the Lincoln University to Harvard. Forty years later Jim revisits Antonia to find her happily married and living a farm life full of content. Even though Antonia isn't as successful as Jim she seems to get more out of life. My Antonia is a wonderful piece of literature that shows the true meaning of happiness and the life and times of the early 1900's.

posted by Anonymous on April 3, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2014

    Olaf

    - He Jumped Into Kyemes Arms - To Bad. HOLD ME! Wait, Hi, I'm, Olaf. Were here to save Elsa, and princess Kenny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2014

    Rider

    He came back in with the lion, searching the rubble for Kyeme.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2014

    The novel ¿My Antonia,¿ by Willa Cather, is a great piece of wo

    The novel “My Antonia,” by Willa Cather, is a great piece of work that explores the relationship one can have with their homeland and memories. Antonia, a girl from Bohemia who settles on the Nebraska prairie, possesses innocence and moral integrity. Her character embodies the naturalness, generosity, and abundance of the plains which helps us to value her family’s deliberate transition to a new, fresh life on the prairie. Their new home is a land of dreams that is embraced by the sky during the time of harvest in significance to immigrants and their idealistic goals in America. However, once Antonia’s father commits suicide and leaves her to a greedy and proud mother and self-centered brother, she begins to face the true meaning of hardship. Cather uses this tragedy to portray Antonia’s strength in getting through the death of the one she loved most. This is the moment when the two children begin to grow up a bit, despite their young age. As they grow into their teenage years, Jim and Antonia begin to see how the real world works, despite them living in the rural part of Nebraska. Jim realizes that despite all of the great things his immigrant friends will do, they will always be seen as the “hired girls.” Antonia, on the other hand, after being left at the altar with a baby on the way, comes to the conclusion that she can’t always only focus on the good in people because that is how she will be left disappointed and betrayed. Despite this, Jim nor Antonia never seem to forget what they have meant to one another, and Cather strongly employs this point. What gave the novel a sense of homesickness was the tone and appreciation Jim Burden had on Antonia as well as memories of a lost home. The novel is a great inspiration for reflection on your younger years and the values of your hometown. It opens a new perspective of an intimate perception one can have towards their homeland and youthful memories. Compared to other books, this piece of work explored more of human emotions and symbolism in characters and landscape settings. The characters represented different types of characteristics such as freedom and optimism that contributed to the story’s plot and theme. Overall, this novel has earned respect throughout a large amount of readers. It has made many remember their past and reflect on their lives bringing them a feeling of homesickness and a walk down memory lane.    

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    A very readable classic

    This novel is well written. It contains much information about the settling of immigrants from Europe in Nebraska. The characters are well-drawn. I read it for a discussion group and recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    I recently read My Antonia out of curiosity and fell in love. Th

    I recently read My Antonia out of curiosity and fell in love. The writing style is beautiful, fluid, masterful, and captivating. On page 11, for example, the narrator says, “There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made,” a statement indicating the land is wild and untamed, yet to be conquered by the early settles. Similar statements throughout the book are thought provoking and engaging. The diction in the book works in more ways than that as well: as I learned more about Antonia, I learned more about the narrator, too. Their lives were so intertwined as children that they remained so as they grew; they molded each other, whether they realized it or not. Hearing about Antonia’s experiences also caused me, as a reader, to greater appreciate the sacrifices the early pioneers and settlers made to shape this country. The challenges Antonia faced were tragic; watching her overcome them, however, made me want to cheer her on. In a way, she can be considered an early feminist because of her determination to work as hard as a man and fill her father’s role. While she was not a hard core feminist, she still displays some of those characteristics early on in the novel. It’s fascinating to watch her ideals change towards the end as she shifts away from her previous ideals and becomes more open to the traditional roles of a woman and embraces them as well. At first, she is as wild and untamed as the land in both her mannerisms and actions. As the novel progresses, however, she becomes more refined as the land also becomes more settled and cultivated. She grows with the land but never loses who she really is: Antonia.
    By, Sarah Schwarze

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    A nice return visit

    I haven't read My Antonia since my college days nearly 30 years ago. I reread it because I had ordered it as part of the Penguin Drop Caps series. It is just as good as I remembered it. A great portrait of taming of the West that includes astute observations about the immigrant experience. Throughout it has a bittersweet feeling of nostalgia and regret--two powerful emotions that sneak up on you. They don't overpower the story, but they give it much of its sense of depth.

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  • Posted June 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    My Ánto­nia by Willa Cather was writ­ten in 1918 and is con­sid­

    My Ánto­nia by Willa Cather was writ­ten in 1918 and is con­sid­ered the last in the “Prairie Tril­ogy” fol­low­ing O Pio­neers! And The Song of the Lark. This book is con­sid­ered one of the great­est nov­els writ­ten by an American.

    Ánto­nia Shimerda’s story is told through the eyes of Jim Bur­den, a child­hood friend. Even though Jim left town, he never for­got the Bohemian girl who influ­enced, and still influ­ences his life from afar.

    Ánto­nia has always worked hard, first help­ing her par­ents farm in an unfriendly land and later to pre­serve though the hard­ships life throws at her. Ánto­nia always pre­vails with spirit that can­not be bro­ken, that of a pioneer.

    My Ánto­nia by Willa Cather is a story within a story. The nar­ra­tor is a friend of Jim who is stuck in a love­less mar­riage. Jim is con­sumed by a fan­tasy girl, Ánto­nia, who he remem­bers from childhood.

    The char­ac­ters in the book well writ­ten, real­is­tic but form a strange group, Ms. Cather does an amaz­ing job writ­ing a book from the per­spec­tive of a young man. To be hon­est, if I knew that this would be the case I prob­a­bly won’t have read the book to begin with. I’m always weary of sto­ries writ­ten from a per­spec­tive which the author can never per­ceive. Even though a man tells the story, this is not how a man would tell a story. The nar­ra­tive might be in the voice of a man, but it is a woman writ­ing as a man, with all the insights, gen­tle­ness and moti­va­tions which comes with it. While writ­ing from that per­spec­tive might not always work, this novel comes off as a real­is­tic fan­tasy of a mid­dle aged man, think­ing back on his life, the mis­takes he has made and what “could have been”.

    Ánto­nia seems to be the per­fect woman, told by an unre­li­able nar­ra­tor who remem­bers her with­out any faults. It’s as if you made con­tact with your high-school sweet­heart, decades after you saw one another and expect noth­ing to change. Jim puts Ánto­nia on a pedestal, the reader knows she’s not per­fect and the mis­takes, is lovely as they are, are still seen through rose col­ored glasses worn by a man who adores her but sim­ply doesn’t under­stand her.

    This is cer­tainly a book of qual­ity; Cather makes this char­ac­ter dri­ven novel come alive with her vivid descrip­tions of Nebraska. It seems that the char­ac­ters belong to each other as much as they belong to the land and to the Amer­i­can immi­grant lit­er­ary experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Bm i

    Rb,evv ruo

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Very good.

    Better than what I have been reading lately. I liked the part where Jim killed the snake.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Astounding!

    I cannot read the book on my Mac, nor was I able to read the eTextbook I purchased last semester!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    My fave

    Love this classic book. I remember reading it for great books in hs and i hae read it many times since......highly recommend!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    Beatifully Written

    My Ántonia was a decent book. It did a magnificent job of visualization. The words painted a beautiful picture in my mind. Sometimes I got a little frustrated though, because I wanted to keep reading and find out what happens next in the plot, but the author kept going into the detail about the scenery. However, this is the only thing I didn¿t like about the book.
    Willa Cather did many things well in this classic. She did a great job of creating an interesting plot while incorporating historical events. I¿ve been learning about immigration in history class and this book helped me put faces to what we are learning. The story was captivating and emotional, while educational. I¿m not a big fan of historical fiction, but this book kept my attention and interest. I also loved how she developed the characters. After finishing the book I felt like I knew them personally.
    My Ántonia is perfect for high school students, but college students and adults would also enjoy this book. There were many words throughout the text that I didn¿t know, but I could usually use the context to figure out their meaning. Other than that, the book wasn¿t a hard read. Also, this book relates to what high school students learn in U.S History, so that¿s a perfect time to read it. I would definitely recommend this book to almost anyone, even if they don¿t like historical fiction. My Ántonia is brilliantly written and is very interesting. It uses beautiful language to connect the reader to the characters and the Great Plains, while educating them on what it was like to live out west in the late 1800¿s and the early 1900¿s.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A So-not-that-depressing realist work

    My Antonia by Willa Cather is about the friendship between a boy, Jim, and an immigrant girl, Antonia. Willa Cather's novel deals with issues such as immigration, suicide, prejudice, and unrequited love. My Antonia is a charming coming-of-age story set in the late 19th c. The characters are realistically written. The story is narrated by Jim and is a compilation of memories from his childhood and young adult life.
    To be honest, I did not want to read this book-mostly because it is a realist work. I'm not a huge fan of realism-I find it quite depressing. I still wonder why I decided to take a class on American Literature that concentrated on Realist works. I had to read and write a paper on this novel. So, of course, I was dreading it. But it truly surprised me. I did not expect to like it at all. I recommend you read this if you like classic American Literature. Even if you don't, it's still a good read; and by far my favorite of all the books/short stories I had to read for that class.

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  • Posted January 23, 2011

    An Escape Into the Past

    My Antonia by Willa Cather is a story about the life of young Jim Burden. The book is a flashback written by Jim mainly about his life with his old childhood friend, Antonia. His flashback is written in manuscript form and begins with when he first laid eyes on Antonia on a train on their way to Nebraska. The story revolves around the idea of how Jim and Antonia grew up and how they got through their troubles and lives together. Some other main characters in this book are Antonia's family, Jim's grandparents (who he grew up with) and Lena Lingard. Antonia's Bohemian family grow close to Jim and his grandparents on their farms because they were new to this country and knew no one else. Lena Lingard is a character that both Jim and Antonia meet later in their lives and grow very close to. The main conflict in this story is an internal conflict: Character vs. Self. One specific event that leads up to the main conflict is when Jim and Antonia experience a death early in their childhood lives. Another event is when Jim and his grandparents decide to move to a different city; which means not being able to be Antonia's neighbor any more.

    I liked this book because it was written in a way in which it holds your attention without giving away too many details. Like, in the introduction chapter you know that the book is going to be written about Antonia, but you don't know exactly how the flashback is going to be written. You expect the book to be like any old re-written story about somebody's childhood but, Willa Cather was able to write a flashback story without making any of the details too confusing. One reason I disliked this book is because the introduction chapter is dialogue between Jim and another person but, it is difficult to find out who the other person really was. This is a way of adding suspense to the story ; it is a very good literary device to use. But, it kind of leaves you questioning the story and it makes you wonder why the story was specifically written. The conflicts that Jim and Antonia experience together give you a sense of friendship and love and make My Antonia a story that you will not soon forget. I recommend this book to anyone who likes reading classics because of its themes of adventure, love, and sorrow.

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  • Posted October 28, 2010

    excellent

    many great stories inside one great story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2010

    Great introduction to pioneer women and their life...

    This is a great story to provide an introduction to strong women and their struggles in creating a life during the early days of the settlors. It is truly moving and a story every young lady should read...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2010

    Enjoyable reading

    Willa Cather, who is from Virginia, has a pleasant writing style that pulled me into the story. My heart went out to Antonia's family and the life she led. I really enjoyed this book with the historical setting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a Great Novel

    This book is a wonderful recolection of a man's memories of when he was a boy. This book is filled with great characters which you cant help but like. Willa Cather has a way of which keeps you entertained but doesn't give too much information at once. This novel is filled with love and disapointment. Ihave recommended this book to my friends and would recommed it to anyone who like stories about pioneers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009

    um um, bad for book reports.

    OK, so ! read this book for a book report, and I was required to find 4 reviews about my book from reliable sources. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. I could not find one other than the one already printed on the front cover of this book. It is a good read, don't get me wrong, but it's a bad book for reports.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    Not Worth It

    This book was not worth it what so ever. The only reason I read it in the first place was for school. Details in a book is good but TOO many details is bad. The main character sometimes describes something way too much, so much that your mind naturally starts to wonder. And when you come back to your senses you're like "What did i just read? Wow that must have been so boring i wasn't even paying attention." If you don't remember it being boring, it must have been reallllllyyyy boring. The characters were dull and there were too many to remember them all. I honestly hate this book with a passion.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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