The Education Of Harriet Hatfield

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Overview

“Harriet Hatfield begins a new life at the age of 60 after her lover of 30 years has died and left her comfortably well off. But when Harriet opens a bookstore for women in a blue-collar neighborhood of Boston, she is viciously attacked for her lesbianism. Ms. Sarton's powerful portrayal of the shy, reserved woman's battle becomes a moving statement about the place of the outsider in our world—and the necessity of following the human heart.” —Dallas Morning News
When Harriet Hatfield opens a bookstore for women ...

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The Education of Harriet Hatfield: A Novel

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Overview

“Harriet Hatfield begins a new life at the age of 60 after her lover of 30 years has died and left her comfortably well off. But when Harriet opens a bookstore for women in a blue-collar neighborhood of Boston, she is viciously attacked for her lesbianism. Ms. Sarton's powerful portrayal of the shy, reserved woman's battle becomes a moving statement about the place of the outsider in our world—and the necessity of following the human heart.” —Dallas Morning News
When Harriet Hatfield opens a bookstore for women in a blue-collar neighborhood near Boston, she is bombarded by anonymous threats. And when the Boston Globe reports "Lesbian Bookstore Owner Threatened", her education in the narrow-mindedness of her fellow man—and woman—begins.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sarton's 19th novel echoes many earlier themes: the comfort of friendship; relationships between women; the precarious balance between union and solitude, the bond between people and their pets, and what it means to live an elegant life and achieve an elegant death. After the death of her companion of 30 years, 60-year-old Harriet Hatfield opens a bookstore for women in a changing, predominantly blue-collar neighborhood near Boston. Following a newspaper article in which she is labeled a lesbian, a word that very ladylike Harriet has never thought to use, she becomes the target of threats and abuse from an unknown assailant. As Harriet moves from the well-ordered life of a sheltered companion into the rougher, wider world, she begins to redefine herself. Sarton uses the bookstore as a backdrop against which to paint a series of predictable thumbnail sketches of women, but these portraits are pale and thin. Although there is a clarity to her unadorned prose, the richness of varied voices does not come through and emotions are many times too carefully circumscribed. Sarton's mainstream, ``proper'' heroine counterbalances gay stereotypes, but the focus on issue rather than character diminishes the novel's impact. (June)
Library Journal
Sarton's fans will welcome her 19th novel and another of her dignified older women who prevail. Released from a confining lesbian relationship by the death of her lover, Harriet at 60 fulfills her dream of opening a bookstore for women in a Boston working-class neighborhood. Vandalism and threats lead to a news article that forces Harriet to re-evaluate her life and face its impact on others. Though Sarton's style is flabbier than usual and her writing loses credibility when she attempts to deal with all aspects of homosexuality, homophobia, and women's issues, this is still a gentle and readable novel. Given Sarton's popularity, public libraries will want it.-- Elizabeth Guiney Sandvick, North Hennepin Community Coll., Minneapolis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393310290
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1993
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

May Sarton (1912-1995) was an acclaimed poet, novelist, and memoirist.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2006

    WONDERFUL

    This is a book all women should read. If you are heterosexual or homosexual this book is a must read. It is about starting over and all kinds of relationship. I loved it.

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