onsdag 13 januari 2010

A good book?

"Say, now, you needn't be afraid! Nobody'll getcha here! I know how to bluff 'em. Even if a policeman should come after yeh, I'd get around him somehow, and I don't care what you've done or ain't done, I'll stand by yeh. I'm not one to turn against anybody in distress. My mother always taught me that. After you've et a bite and had a cup of my nice tea with cream and sugar in it you'll feel better, and we'll have a real chin-fest and hear all about it. Now, you just shut your eyes and wait till I make that tea."

Jane Carson thumped up the pillow scientifically to make as many of the feathers as possible and shifted the little flower-head upon it. Then she hurried to her small washstand and took a little iron contrivance from the drawer, fastening it on the sickly gas-jet. She filled a tiny kettle with water from a faucet in the hall and set it to boil. From behind a curtain in a little box nailed to the wall she drew a loaf of bread, a paper of tea and a sugar-bowl. A cup and saucer and other dishes appeared from a pasteboard box under the washstand. A small shelf outside the tiny window yielded a plate of butter, a pint bottle of milk, and two eggs. She drew a chair up to the bed, put a clean handkerchief on it, and spread forth her table. In a few minutes the fragrance of tea and toast pervaded the room, and water was bubbling happily for the eggs. As cosily as if she had a chum to dine with her she sat down on the edge of the bed and invited her guest to supper. As she poured the tea she wondered what her co-laborers at the factory would think if they knew she had a real society lady visiting her. It wasn't every working girl that had a white satin bride thrust upon her suddenly this way. It was like a fairy story, having a strange bride lying on her bed, and everything a perfect mystery about her. She eyed the white silk ankles and dainty slippers with satisfaction. Think of wearing underclothes made of silk and real lace!
From "Exit Betty" by Grace Livingstone Hill
It must be more than ten years ago I found a book that once belonged to my grandmother, in one of our bookcases: "The Golden Shoe" by Grace Livingstone Hill. I was captivated by her way of telling the story — just as I am today when I read one of her books I found at Gutenberg, "Exit Betty". I find it fascinating that Grace Livingstone Hill could write so many books, with a very similar plot, and still make it interesting. You know from the first paragraph what will happen — but never the less you read on because you want to know why things happen and how it will be straighten out. Because you know from the beginning that there will be a happy end.
It's a black and white world — the good guys are very good and the bad guys very bad. Rich people and poor people — very often the rich, often spoiled, girl finds her way to God thanks to a poor woman.
Personally I find the author's description of poor people more believable than that of the upper-class. I find her at her best when writing about everyday domestic situations.
I wouldn't call those books good literature — but what do you call a book that captivates you from the first paragraph? A good book?

3 kommentarer:

  1. a capitivatingly good book...???

  2. I agree with you. I find Grace Livingston Hill's description of domestic life to be the most charming aspect of her writing. The only thing that would make me crazy is the baby-talk voice she would give to any child five or under. I have never met a child that spoke like that (and hope I never do!) Besides all of that, her books are a comforting read.

  3. thank you Val, that's what I'll call it!

    Yes, when you point it out - I remember several kids, that seemed to be older than their age but having a strange language.
    The book I just finished had an abrupt ending - not one of her best.