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The Optimist's Daughter

Average Rating 3
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2004

    A Perceptive Journey

    To respond to the previous reviewer--I think that is the type of book that is better appreciated when the reader has experienced a similar situation to the one the author writes about. The central character, an adult, has to adjust to the loss of her proper mother and find out how she fits in her father's life after he remarries a shallow, self-centered woman. Having a similar situation in my own life, I was able to see humor in the novel and better understand my own feelings.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2009

    Truly a Classic

    Eudora Welty's, The Optimist's Daughter, is a superbly crafted glimpse at family dynamics and unconditional love and devotion. Welty's characters are richly layered without screaming for attention. The reader is left to draw their own conclusions as the plot unfolds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2007

    Happiness Found In Sadness

    'The best book Eudora Welty has ever written.' said the New York Times. Eudora Welty's THE OPTIMIST'S DAUGHTER is a very well written and interesting novel with a different setting and unusual characters, a well-developed plot, and connections for all readers. THE OPTIMIST'S DAUGHTER tells the story of Laurel McKelva Hand, who grew up in Mississippi and has recently lost her father and who lost her mother a few years earlier. While at Laurel's childhood home after her father dies, she gets trapped inside her mother's old sewing room, which has been ruined by her father's second wife and now widow, Fay. While inside the sewing room, Laurel learns more about her parents and family than she had known in her entire life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2006

    This is a classic?

    Oh my gosh, I basically speed-read the last half of this book just to get it over with. I don't get what all the hoopla was about. I mean the critics go on and on over what a great book this is. I was told it was an American classic and a good read. I don't think so. Thank God it was a short book. Willa Cather, now there's a classic American writer.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2006

    the loving daughter

    Reading the optimist's daughter at first under whelmed me. I, at the very beginning, started to complain and say '' What a bore! a Boring story! Boring characters! Utterly devoid of any interesting or meaningful moments''. However, I changed my mind totally by finishing it as a whole. When I knew how Laurel went on her life, I realized how things went a whole lot deeper. I realized that Eudora Welty was really talking about how through one's own strength, he can preserve thru any changes sent his way. She wants to say that life is much easier if one casts his burden into someone whom he loves or trusts. Relatives and friends are willing to help one and as they say ' a friend indeed, a friend in need''. In fact, this novel assures the fact that life is nothing without the people whom we really love. Laurel's character reflects this pure love towards one's parents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2003

    it's ok

    i don't think it was her best work but it was a good story. The Robber Bridegroom was great!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2003

    Heart-warming story

    Although the plot was simple, there was so much more to the book than the storyline. With a little thought and contemplation, you will see that this book teaches us about contending w/ death, humanity, and honoring the deceaesd. It is entirely worthy of the pulitzer prize it won in 1973.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2002

    A bunch of words on a page

    This was the worst and most boring book I've ever read. I read it as an independant reading book, and now I must write an essay about its conflicts, and theme. This book was very hard to get into; it did not flow at all. Thoughts came and went, like the characters; they just appeared with know explanation. It was absolutly boring, and at times confusing. Please don't waste your time with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2002

    Slow, Boring, Hard to Follow

    It took me more than a month to read this book. I had to read the first chapter twice because I did not understand it. It started off slow and continued to get more boring as the story went on. I am now finished with the book, but I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly what this book was about. Eudora Welty kept adding too many characters, and it was hard to keep track of them. And Welty spent too much time explaining everything, it was boring. Do not read this, it will be a waste of your time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2002

    Beautiful writing

    Welty's book, The Optimist's Daughter, is beautifully written to showcase the use of the written language and that of the spoken dialect in small town Mississippi. It's a joy to read and it easily transports the reader to the South and back to the mid-1900's. The story unfolds very slowly. It opens at a somber time for the McKelva family, but we are encouraged as Judge McKelva is an optimist. The limited action picks up speed with additional characters and their interaction. The the real story is not the action, but the self reflection by Laurel, the optimist's daughter. We learn her history and follow her process of letting go. It's difficult to write a story that makes "inaction" the "action" and Welty did a wonderful job of it. It's fair to say that if the story was changed to current time, the ending might have been different -- which would make a great group discussion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2002

    Don't waste your time...

    I had to read this book as a summer reading assignment for my freshman year of high school. Maybe it's just the age I was in while reading it, but this book just about put me to sleep after 5 seconds. It was HORRIBLE! No plot, no climax, no excitement. HORRIBLE! I had to come on here and let you all know the truth: Don't waste your time. Trust me..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2002

    Optimist's Daughter

    As a northener, I felt this book was very sectionalist and regionalist showing ordinary Southern people as heroic individuals. Very difficult reading for a fellow New Yorker with its dense Southern dialect. The optimist in the novel is Judge Mckelva, who undergoes major eye surgery. The Optimist's Daughter lacks a climax and moves at a tortoise like speed. It is not the best book ever written but certainly not the worst.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2002

    Optimist's Daughter

    Optimist's Daughter is a slow paced, narrative sort of book. It appears to be an autobiographical account of Eudora Welty's life. A Pulitzer Prize winner, it is considered by many critics to be one of her best and most famous works As a typical Southerner, she tells detailed stories at the drop of a hat, a simple question usually turns into a long drawn-out story. Most of Welty's works seem to draw upon inner beauty of the southern characters. I won't go into specific details of the novel, but I will say it makes for great reading and is difficult book to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2001

    A nice story

    The story centers on Laurel McKelva. She's a sensible young woman whose father recently died after undergoing a minor eye operation. She travels with her flighty and selfish stepmother Fay, back to the small town in Mississippi where she grew up. Once she is alone in the old house she makes some revelations about her past, her parents and herself. This is a very well-written book. Perfect if you like stories with little or no action. The most action in the book occurs when Fay returns to the house where a slightly heated confrontation occurs, but even that is short and subdued. How much you enjoy this book will depend on how much you like Laurel since she is the center of the story. Personally, I liked her, she has strong character, a strong sense of self and isn't afraid to put her foolish and overbearing stepmother in her place. Overall, a very good book.

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    Posted July 2, 2011

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    Posted June 25, 2009

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    Posted April 5, 2010

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    Posted May 15, 2012

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