My Antonia, Willa Cather, 1918
★★★★ Not to miss, worth re-reading

★★★★ Not to miss, worth re-reading
★★★★    Books that surely have stayed with me.
★★★       Very enjoyable read, recommendable.
★★          Meh. Nothing remarkable.
★             Run.

The half star, , would make it closer to the higher category, an in-between of sorts.

I had been wanting to read My Antonia for long. If I did not read the book before it’s because I erroneously thought it’d be somehow boring. I was mistaken. This is an unforgettable book. The book gives the reader a beautiful image of pioneer America at the end of the XIX century.

I found this book to be a fascinating story told straightforward and with poetic feel. Maybe being a bygone era in our history makes the book more interesting, but I can see how it would have been loved and widely read since its publication.

The book is told by Jim. Many say Willa Cather’s speaks through him. Jim and Antonia Shimerda start the book at a carriage that will take them to their respective neighboring farms in Nebraska. Jim is an orphan, and he’s heading to his grandparents farm. Antonia and her family are Bohemians who are emigrating to an unknown place in Nebraska. They don’t know the language nor the customs of their new home. The book tells us the story of the community through the eyes of this interesting young man, Jim, who will grow up along with his peers.

I can tell Cather loved her roots, her America. She made me fall in love with it as well. I’d like to highlight her storytelling skills. To me, the book has a fine balance between crude realism and idealism.  While things are called by their name, and bad events are not sugar coated, Willa Cather’s love for the land and its people comes across strong in her poetic abilities to describe the smallest and simplest things in life. It’s a robust and optimistic book anyone would enjoy reading.

I’d compare her to Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. I’m surely a fan. I intend to read more of her books.

18 thoughts on “My Antonia

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. It’s near the top of my favorites list! I first read this when I was in high school or thereabouts and then read it again for the Back to the Classics Challenge in 2016 as a previously read book. I loved it even more the second time through. Lately I went through my books and donated quite a few, but this one is still on my shelf!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember reading your review. I knew that you had liked it, but I did not know you also read it in high school, and that it’s one of your favorite books.


  2. Interesting that you compare to Bradbury. His Dandelion Wine is still on my TBR, ever since you mentioned it to be a great read. I’m currently reading O Pioneers, and it’s so good that I’m not reading it much; trying hard to make it last. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I felt with My Antonia, I was savoring it slowly. Same with Dandelion Wine, so much that I feel for re-reading it. O Pioneers is now in my list too.


  3. I’ve been making a list of classics to read and My Antonia is on that list. I also have O Pioneers! on the list as well. As a sidenote, I finished Frankenstein yesterday and am thinking through my thoughts on it. I’m glad I read it. Oh and I am halfway through The Trial. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here!, halfway through the Trial, and writing the first post. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on Frankenstein. I love chatting about books with my friends the best!


      1. Ooo…I can’t wait for your post on The Trial. I’m trying to decide what I think about it thus far. 🙂 I hope to write a blog post about Frankenstein. I usually have to think a bit about a book after I read it before I write about it. And that is especially true for Frankenstein! Definitely not a feel-good read; but it is a good book that is highly discuss-able. It would be a great pick for a book club!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am also trying to decide what to think about it myself, ha ha ha. I think both Frankenstein and The Trial are highly discuss-able, as you say, but maybe not that like-able, huh!


      3. I find that with some books I read….that once I’ve read them and thought about them they become better. 🙂 I was just working on my post for Frankenstein and mentioned how highly discuss-able it is. It raises some questions that just aren’t easily answered. And it presents some themes that are hard (such as abandonment and hopelessness). It will probably be another day or two before I post it because I’m still thinking about it as I write about it.

        With The Trial, I find myself conflicted with trying to figure out the main character K….as in what kind of person he is. Do you feel that way?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review! I loved this book as well and am eager to read more Cather. And yes to this book being a little like a love story to Cather’s childhood landscape. I too fell for Antonia’s charm.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I had to read this book for school about 4 years ago, and though I really enjoyed it, I wasn’t sure what I supposed to take away from it. Within the last month or two, it came up while talking to my dad, and I was surprised to learn that he had read it and well remembered one of the tragic scenes in the book! I don’t know what I like about the book, but it really is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being 46 years old, a mother and housewife and an immigrant, I took a lot from it. I know it’s assigned in high school, but though I don’t doubt many young people can appreciate it, I am not sure if it’s a book that will make an impression on the young minds. Maybe I am wrong, in any case, it’s a good fit for the older bunch, -wink.

      Liked by 1 person

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