Sunday, September 15, 2013

Our next book selection will be "The Ponder Heart" by Eudora Welty. Welty is a classic American Pulitzer-Prize winning author. Here is one review: "In most of the rural South (including present day) there are certain unspoken rules regarding which families' potato salads are "safe" to eat and which ones are to be avoided at all costs. Most of these "laws to live by" have less to do with flavor or pathogens than they have to do with family lines that should not cross. Children learn these lessons from the time they can fix their own plates at covered dish dinners to welcome the new preacher or lighten a family's load directly after a loved one is lowered into the ground. "It's fine to sample Alma's cooking, but you need to avoid Lucille's beans....I hear they aren't much count". It's in that spirit the Welty tackles this quick witted little tale of a most peculiar man who is loved by everyone, but fails to connect with not one but TWO spouses (the second following much too soon after the first to be accepted by most at the time this was published). I am sure there are far deeper satirical themes in play, but for now I enjoyed the story on the surface level. Daniel Potter is good "hearted", giving, fun, and yet, these character traits only earn him heartache in his most personal relationships. He's the least stingy person, yet misfortune follows him like a curse. The book is narrated by his persnickety niece (quasi sister/mother figure) Edna Earl who values her opinion on all things Uncle Daniel far more than I suspect he values it. There are overtones of race, greed, gender, sexual desire, and family dynamic but all told in a way that keeps you laughing. It's "As I Lay Dying" minus the parts that make you cringe or lead to weeks of dreams." (end of quote) Information on this book & movie points out that it includes racial epithets & stereotypical portrayals. We'll have to discuss this against the time frame in which the book was written. The book should be an interesting, humorous look at life & relationships that are applicable to our life today. We'll set a date for meeting in the future: I'm looking at the 2nd or 3rd week in October. Books are available on Amazon for $.01 (plus shipping of about $4). I'll order some. Please contact me if you'd like a copy!