Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winesburg, Ohio -- Sherwood Anderson ------------------------------ 2.5 Stars

Sometimes there is just not a lot to say about certain books. Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio falls into that category for me. It was a sort of a good book...yeah.

Let's see. I was reading something that included Winesburg, Ohio as a sort of unsung hero of not so famous but should be American novels. It's about 300 pages and includes 15 or so short stories all revolving around people, or 'grotesques' as Anderson calls them, living in Winesburg. It kind of reminded me of Canterbury Tales. Obviously much easier to read, but both were about characters that sort of stood out compared to others in life/the town.

The stories are all pretty good. They are told very simply and are very straight forward. Because they are just short stories, you don't get a whole bunch of character development and it's more of snapshots of their lives than anything else. The genius of the book, and I think why many critics loved it (and still do), is that so nicely illustrates and describes life in small town America around the turn of the twentieth century.

If you like period pieces, short story fiction, or tales about just 'real' life, this would be a good book for you. It's an easy read and you can get through the stories quickly. The drawback for me, and why it only earned 2.5 stars, was that it just was not entertaining. As most stories had nothing to do with others, it never drew me back into the book to keep reading. Being about 100 years old, the stories are also a bit old in topic and although risque at the time and pushed social norms, compared to modern day 'drama' it does not compare.

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