Willa Cather's novel is the most beautiful story of the lives of plain people that I have ever read.
Her strength as a novelist lies in her ability to weave a wonderful story around the lives of ordinary characters; ordinary in the sense that everything they feel, every word that they speak, and all that they do, is perfectly understandable to the reader.
Every time I read My Antonia, I wish I could find, like young Jim Burden does, a warm yellow pumpkin to lean my back against, and feel the sun warm my face as I watched the wind push the prarie grass in rolling waves of shimmering green. I am sure that in doing so I would find real happiness.
Cather is an artist, and the full, rich landscape of the frontier prarie is her canvas. On it she creates beautiful images of sunsets and prarie flowers; disturbing pictures of suicide and infidelity; brushstrokes of true friendship and true hardship and determination and strength.
The reunion of Jim and Antonia is beautifully unforgettable, and tells the whole story: when Jim's success as a big city attorney is squared against the humility of Antonia's existence - her fruit cave and orchard trees and grape arbour, and her wriggling, giggling flock of children, it fades down and disappears like a setting sun.
In finishing the story with this visit, Cather preserves the magic of the land, the strength of those who tamed it, and the unbreakable bond between the two.