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on 13 January 2006
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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on 18 July 2017
Loved this novella - this was my introduction to Carson McCullers The protaganist Frankie reminded me so much of Scout in TKAMB.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 September 2009
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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Set in the American south, Carson McCullers' 'The Member of the Wedding' focuses on twelve-year-old Frankie, an awkward, leggy, motherless tomboy with a wonderful imagination, who finds it difficult to fit in with those around her. Tall for her age and afraid of eventually becoming a freakish giant, Frankie hates it when other children ask her: "Is it cold up there?" Her best friend has moved away and Frankie has been excluded from becoming a member of the local clubhouse where the older girls and boys in the town meet up to listen to music and to dance - but despite her derision of "the son-of-a-b*tch*s" Frankie longs to be part of their group. When she discovers that her brother, Jarvis, is about to get married to his girlfriend, Janice, Frankie is torn between excitement and the fear that she will be excluded from his life, and to make sure this doesn't happen she makes plans to ensure that she is able to join her brother and sister-in-law on their honeymoon. Sharing her plans with her six-year-old cousin, James Henry, and Berenice Sadie Brown, the black housekeeper who has practically brought Frankie up, she gets angry when Berenice tells her: "You jealous. You go and behold yourself in the mirror. I can see the colour from your eye." But Frankie won't let Berenice's straight-talking bring her down to earth and, in her attempts to prove to herself and others that she has some control over her life, she places herself and her safety at risk…

Although, initially, this slim novel may appear to be a typical coming-of-age story, it is actually so much more than that. With themes of unity and division, acceptance and rejection, inclusion, exclusion and racial prejudice, Carson McCullers' story may be a brief one - and, due to its brevity, these themes are not discussed in any great depth - but it's a story with a remarkable resonance. The characters are well-depicted: Frankie, on the verge of emotional and sexual awakening, with her naivety and her yearning for acceptance; Berenice (who first married at the age of thirteen and has since had three husbands, the last of whom went crazy and gouged out one of her eyes) is a marvellous creation and whose hard-won wisdom and straight-talking personality works as a perfect foil for Frankie; and not forgetting Frankie's small cousin, the unusual and very appealing John Henry, whose presence is very essential to the story. Wise, funny and particularly poignant, this novel (which, I feel, is best read in one sitting) will be returned to one of my bookcases to experience again in the future - and although I have only heard an excerpt, the audio download version, ably narrated by Susan Sarandon is one that I might just have to add to my collection.

5 Stars.
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on 5 July 2011
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. She writes a note for her father takes his pistol and wallet, and her suitcase and leaves the house. Not knowing where else to go, she goes to the Blue Moon Café where, soon after, the sheriff finds her and takes her home.

`Frances was never once to speak about the wedding.'

This statement marks the beginning of novel's conclusion. It is now three months after the wedding and Frances has turned thirteen. She has a new friend: Mary Littlejohn, and her life has changed in other ways as well. Not all of the changes are positive, but Frances is overjoyed to have a new girlfriend. Life continues, and for Frances, at least, there is something to look forward to.

I enjoyed this novel and admired the way in which Ms McCullers brought Frankie and her fears to life. In fewer than 170 pages, Ms McCullers has encapsulated the nature of adolescence for so many: that painful and uncomfortable sense of not belonging and of having no place. As Frankie evolves, becomes F. Jasmine and then Frances, searching for her own sense of self, older readers will recognise the pain of past transition while younger readers, perhaps, are still experiencing it. Frankie is the central character in this novel, but hers is not the only life being lived and Berenice and John Henry are also finely drawn.

I've not previously read any of Ms McCullers work, and read this novel as part of a reading group. I'll be looking to read other books as the opportunity arises.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Much of my childhood was spent urging to belong, or to escape to somewhere I could be a fixture of. Carson McCullers wonderfully depicts that youthful longing in Frankie, desperate to follow her brother Jarvis and his new wife on the honeymoon and into their new lives, despite warnings that there is a crowd. Frankie's own feelings of otherness is as thick as the heat, and her table conversations with maid Berenice and her cousin John Henry bring to mind Scout, Calpernia and Dill from To Kill a Mockingbird. This is my first Carson McCullers after being told to read her, and this certainly will not be my last. The Member of the Wedding is a great story of childhood longing, gently depicted with wit and and sadness.

This was my first McCullers, but certainly will not be my last.
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on 9 April 1998
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 October 2012
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.
A book about growing up; a dawning awareness of the greater world, and of oneself as separate from -yet somehow linked to- the rest of humanity:
'this is what I mean', F.Jasmine said. 'You are walking down a street and you meet somebody. Anybody. And you look at each other. And you are you. And he is him. Yet when you look at each other, the eyes make a connexion. Then you go off one way. And he goes off another way. You go off into different parts of town, and maybe you never see each other again. Not in your whole life. Do you see what I mean?'
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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. It is little wonder that the dress she ends up purchasing is totally unsuitable. Her feeling of isolation is palpable to the reader.

Although Frankie is somewhat of a tomboy, she likes getting dressed up, slathering on lipstick, and taking a walk through the town, calling herself F. Jasmine, looking older than her years. In this guise, she meets a soldier, who takes her for being much older. It comes as no surprise when it all goes horribly wrong. Yet, Frankie is evidently a survivor and manages to fend for herself.

The moment of truth for Frankie arrives when her brother's wedding finally takes place, but by then that event is almost anti-climactic, as events continue to buffet Frankie, leaving her more isolated that ever before. Still, she continues on, not seeming to have learned anything all from her experiences, an emotionally troubled child suffering a severe disconnection from the world.

This is a thematically complex story told through the jagged fragments of the life of a young girl, one who views the world in a disjointed, unrealistic way, her world view clouded by inner demons that are never given a voice. It is a story that is dark and melancholic, leaving the reader to ponder upon a life so young, yet so despairing.
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on 20 March 2016
Rubbish book just a load of words not necessarily making sense
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