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The Member of the Wedding [Mass Market Paperback]

Carson McCullers
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 1991
When she was only twenty-three Carson McCuller's first novel The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, created a literary sensation.  She is very special, once of American's superlative writers who conjures up a vision of existence as terrible as it is real, who takes us on shattering voyages into the depths of the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition.



"Rarely has emotional turbulence been so delicately conveyed," said The New York Times of Carson McCullers's achingly real novel about Frankie Addams, a bored twelve-year-old madly jealous of her brother's impending marriage.  Frankie was afraid of the dark and envious of the older girls.  But as F. Jasmine, in a pink dress, she looked sixteen.  No longer a child, she accepted a date with a red-haired soldier and purchased a sophisticated gown for the wedding.  F. Jasmine had plans.


Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; Reissue edition (Sep 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553250515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553250510
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,321,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"This is the type of novel that is open to interpretation and students will gain a better understanding from reading all of the discussion. Doctorow is quoted in several chapters. Students looking for criticism and analysis of literary works will find it easy to use this title rather than searching endlessly for the journals in which these articles may have originally appeared. A valuable resource for literature collections." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Carson McCullers was born in 1917. She is the critically acclaimed author of several popular novels in the 1940s and '50s, including The Member of the Wedding (1946). Her novels frequently depicted life in small towns of the southeastern United States and were marked by themes of loneliness and spiritual isolation. McCullers suffered from ill health most of her adult life, including a series of strokes that began when she was in her 20s; she died at the age of 50. The Member of the Wedding was dramatized for the stage in the 1950s and filmed in 1952 and 1997. Other films based on her books are Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967, with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968, starring Alan Arkin) and The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow, funny, touching 13 Jan 2006
Format:Paperback
Throughout the authors life she wrote about lonliness and love, usually unrequited. These themes are brilliantly realised in this small novel about a weekend in the life of Frankie, a twelve year old girl unsure of herself and the world. There isn't much plot, and in parts it seems to move on leisurly, taking time over small details, but you are never bored because every detail seems to be whipped up with realistic emotion and perfectly placed within the story. The language is similarily thoughtout, often it boarders on poetic, but than at the moments of highest drama Mccullers draws back into a declarative objective tone. This book feels so real, the charecters, and most of all the things the author puts into words that you have only felt before. I'm blathering, but in short BRILLIANT. Read and read again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She doesn't understand how the world works 17 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Twelve-year-old Frankie Addams spends the end of a long summer sitting in the kitchen playing bridge with her six-year-old cousin, John Henry and the `coloured' housekeeper, Bernice. Her mother died giving birth to her and her father works all day and most of the evening at his jewellery store.

Frankie has a wild imagination, deep feelings and a strong but dreamy intelligence. Her older brother is about to get married and she fixes upon the idea that he and his wife will take her with them on their honeymoon.

With faultless depth of understanding and insight, Carson McCullers allows her readers to see what it is like to be twelve years old, on the brink of being someone different, but unable to understand how such a thing can come about. Frankie doesn't understand how the world works, but Bernice who has been married three times, does, and she tries to impart what wisdom she can to the girl placed in her charge. Frankie is wilful, obstinate and heart-breakingly naïve and some of the situations she places herself in would give a modern parent palpitations.

This is quite a short novel, but entrancingly beautiful, with prose that haunts like poetry. It is a masterpiece, bringing a time, a place and a culture blazingly, brilliantly to life.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Member of the Wedding- VERY entertaining 9 April 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Carson Mccullers creates a masterpiece in the adaptation and writing of The Member of the Wedding. Memorable characters are created through the dialog, and the significant meanings in the play are tied up wonderfully in an entertaining storyline. Frankie epitomizes youthfulness and insecurity, while still presenting herself as a unique character. Her mother figure and houskeeper, Berenice, not only teaches Frankie about life, but about living life as it should be lived. John Henry is pure mischevious innocence, and all the other characters complete the story of a family with problems that still manages to function. Mccullers tackles the issue of acceptance versus taking action to change ones situation through the events that surround Frankie and her friends, T.T. and Honey. The issues of adolescence are placed in a humorous light in the aftermath of Frankie's spoken thoughts and actions, while T.T. and Honey must face bigger challenges of prejudice and inequality.
Personally, I thought the play was really funny, but sad at the same time. That's why I'm giving it a ten. It was a fast, entertaining read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A DARK AND MELONCHOLIC COMING OF AGE STORY... 30 July 2009
By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is a book about Frankie Adams, a twelve year old girl coming of age in the South during World War II. We see her world through her eyes, so that the reader gets a skewed version of the world around Frankie. Clearly all is not right with her, as her brother is getting married and Frankie thinks that she will be going off with her brother and his bride. Frankie spins a total fantasy around this concept. She does not think that two is company and three is a crowd.

Why does she do this? There are many reasons. Some of them are rather dark. Frankie's mother died giving birth to her. Her father has remained a widower, letting Frankie sleep in the same bed with him until she was about twelve, when he finally gave her the boot. Her best friend is her six year old first cousin, John Henry. He likes to sleep over, and when he does, he sleeps in the bed with Frankie. She caresses him when he sleeps, and even takes to licking him behind his ear while he slumbers. She also has apparently had a sexual encounter of some kind with a neighborhood boy, an incident about which she will not speak. The author weaves these details into the story, glossing over them, leaving the reader feeling shocked. This feeling is exacerbated by the almost casual interjection of these details.

There is so much emotional trauma in Frankie's life that it is amazing she can function at all. Also distressing to Frankie is the fact that she is isolated from children her own age. The neighborhood girls, who are just a little older than her and whom Frankie envies, shun her. Her father pretty much ignores her, leaving her upbringing to the housekeeper, Bernice. When it comes time to buy her a dress for her brother's wedding, she is sent off to buy the dress by herself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `I wish I was somebody else except me.' 5 July 2011
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
It's August 1944, and Frankie (Frances) Addams is a twelve-year-old girl living in the American south. Frankie is frustrated and bored, she feels like she no longer belongs. `This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member.' Frankie's best friend, Evelyn Owen, left town before summer began, and most of the other girls are already thirteen and won't allow her to be a member of their club. The novel opens in the kitchen of Frankie's home, with Frankie, Berenice Sadie Brown (the family maid) and John Henry West (her six year old first cousin) present. The novel is divided into three parts, with each part marking different steps in Frankie's transition from childhood.

In Part 1, news that Frankie's older brother Jarvis is to marry provides Frankie with a new focus. After seeing Jarvis with his fiancée Janice, she decides to become a member of the wedding, and thinks: `They are the we of me.' She can think of little else other than her plan to be with them after the wedding: leaving the past behind.

It's the day before the wedding, and Part 2, begins with Frankie walking around town on her way to buy a new dress. She has adopted a new name: F. Jasmine Addams and meets a number of different people on her journey, including an organ grinder and his monkey, and a soldier who treats her as though she is older, and asks her to meet him later to go dancing. Frankie (or F. Jasmine) learns about Berenice's life, and later experiences fear when she meets up with the soldier.

On the day of the wedding, at the beginning of Part 3, Frankie is now Frances. The wedding takes place, events do not develop as Frankie (or Frances) wished, and she is humiliated. Frances decides to leave home.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars superb
Arrived exactly as stated, and in good time.
Published 2 months ago by ZeeDeen
5.0 out of 5 stars The Member of the Wedding - Carson McCullers
I don't think i've ever before read such a convincing account of the romantic, fevered, desperate world of childhood. Read more
Published 5 months ago by RachelWalker
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and crisp
Set in the last months of WW2, this is a bleak view of life from the point of view of a 12-year-old girl whose mother died giving birth to her. What a burden to carry! Read more
Published 5 months ago by S. B. Kelly
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts
An intriguing novel, but I can't say that I was captivated by it. I may like it better if I read it again!
Published 15 months ago by P. Trendall
5.0 out of 5 stars 'they are the we of me'
Absolutely amazing read; I just marvelled that the author still had such a vivid recollection of the feelings of a twelve year old, and was able to express them so well. Read more
Published 23 months ago by sally tarbox
5.0 out of 5 stars Member of the wedding
I am surprised how few people have heard of this book- it's one of my favourites and I keep buying it to give to friends. One of those books that you must read.
Published on 3 May 2012 by MrNatural
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
I absolutely loved this book. A concise and beautifully written book in which every word counted, but no word was surplus. Read more
Published on 18 Dec 2009 by Pamela
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing novel, humourous but ultimately too short
As can be gathered from the earlier reviews there is a lot to like about this book. It is well written and creates an excellent realistic atmosphere and location for Frankie. Read more
Published on 29 July 2009 by H. Tee
4.0 out of 5 stars DARK AND MELANCHOLIC COMING OF AGE STORY...
This is a book about Frankie Adams, a twelve year old girl coming of age in the South during World War II. Read more
Published on 26 Aug 2007 by Lawyeraau
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