February 22, 2019

Looking Back - Housekeeping

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
1981 Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Finished in April 1998
Rating: 1/5 (Poor)

Publisher's Blurb:

A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother. The family house is in the small town of Fingerbone on a glacial lake in the Far West, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere." Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transcience.

My Original Notes (1998):

Boring! I don't know why I forced myself to read this book. Very little action and very little dialogue. 

My Current Thoughts:

I don't remember much about this novel other than the fact that it was terribly dull and very bleak. Looking at the reviews on Goodreads, I'm definitely in the minority!


  1. I remember when everyone was talking about this book. It sounds like I made the right decision when I skipped it.

    1. As I usually do with this older reads, I wonder how I would like the book today and if my reaction in 1998 was simply an issue of timing. I know her book Gilead is also very popular.

  2. I bet it was for a book group. I think that was back in the days when we all thought we had to 'force' ourselves to read the book. Why did we think that? LOL

    1. I'll bet you're right, Kay. Why did we think that?! ;)

  3. Dull and bleak is how I remember it, too. Read it for a book club and doubt I would have finished otherwise.

    1. JoAnn, I think I read this with an online book group. I am still curious about Gilead, though. Every author deserves a second chance. :)


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