Book Club Picks: O Pioneers!

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I was catching up.  I am only one behind now. 🙂

Yay!

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. The next one was my turn and I picked one of my favorites:

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

This won’t be a long post as I talked about it two years ago during my 30-day book challenge (which I never finished. Oops!)

Oh, well

I love this book so much. I’m not sure what else I could add. The other day I did a post on how sad it is that Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is so ignored when it is such a good book-and I feel the same way about this one. This is such an amazing novel! But is so ignored by people, why?

Why? Why do they treat you this way?

So the book is just under 200 pages and divided into five parts. The first part talks of the Swedish immigrants, the Bergsons, who moved to Nebraska for a better life. They find it not as they hope and after many struggles finally seem to be eking out a living. But then! The patriarch of the family, John,  is dying and decides to leave the control of everything to his daughter Alexandra.

What?

Yes, he doesn’t care about anything but what is good for the family. And he knows the only one who will keep things going right is Alexandra and she should be in charge, even though she is female.

“It was Alexandra who read the papers and followed the markets, and who learned by the mistakes of their neighbors. It was Alexandra who could always tell about what it cost to fatten each steer, and who could guess the weight of a hog before it went on the scales closer than John Bergson himself. Lou and Oscar were industrious, but he could never teach them to use their heads about their work.” pg. 15

While everything prospers for them, others aren’t doing well and selling the land to move on to “greener pastures.” One of which is the man Alexandra is in love with. He knows he isn’t a farmer and doesn’t want to use her, but wants to be her equal.

“I’ll write as long as I live…And I’ll be working for you as much as for myself, Alexandra. I want to do something you’ll like and be proud of. I’m a fool here, but I know I can do something!” pg. 34

It is so sad as you want them to be together!

It doesn’t matter to Alexandra, she doesn’t care! She loves him and wants to spend her life with him whether he has everything or nothing.

I talk about this all the time that husband calls it “the book you love”. He’ll say “I know, its like the book you love” or “you are like that girl in the book you love”, or “it’s like that book you love” etc.

Or years.

Poor Alexandra

[To Carl’s retreating form] Since you have been here, ten years now, I have never really been lonely.” pg 35

The second section of the novel it has been sixteen years since the death of John Bergson, now being 1899. In the years that have passed much has changed. The Bergsons have thrived under Alexandra’s leadership and are very wealthy. In fact Alexandra was able to send her youngest brother, Emil off to college.

Wow

Poor Alexandra is alone still pining for her love. He comes back for a visit but still has nothing so he feels he can’t marry her.

Noooo!

I think Carl and Alexandra are just the cutest couple. Carl is so sweet to her and pretty much understands her (except for the having to prove himself thing because she does not care) and doesn’t find any measure of her odd or not right.

“I wonder whether I should ever be able to tell you all that I was thinking up there. It’s a strange thing, Alexandra; I find it easy to be frank with you about everything under the sun-except yourself!’

‘You are afraid of hurting my feelings, perhaps.’ Alexandra looked at him thoughtfully.

‘No, I’m afraid it would give you a shock. You’ve seen yourself for so long in the dull minds of the people around you, that if I were to tell you how you seem to me, it would startle you. But you must see that you astonish me.” pg. 83

Why can’t you stay Carl?!!! Why leave her alone?!!

“What a hopeless position you are in, Alexandra!’ [Carl] exclaimed feverishly. ‘It is your fate to be always surrounded by little men. And I am no better than the rest. I am too little to face the criticism of even such men as Lou and Oscar. Yes, I am going away; to-morrow. I cannot even ask you to give me a promise until I have something to offer you. I thought, perhaps, I could do that; but I find I can’t.’

‘What good comes of offering people things they don’t need?’ Alexandra asked sadly. ‘I don’t need money. But I have needed you for a great many years. I wonder why I have been permitted to prosper, if only to take my friends away from me.

‘I don’t deceive myself,’ Carl said frankly. ‘I know that I am going away on my own account. I must make the usual effort. I must have something to show for myself. To take what you would give me, I should have to be a very large man or a very small one, and I am only in the middle class.’

Alexandra sighed. ‘I have a feeling that if you go away, you will not come back. Something will happen to one of us, or to both. People have to snatch at happiness when they can in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find.” pg. 114-115

Emil ends up going to Mexico. He loves their neighbor, Marie, but she is already married and he wants to stay away. Him leaving makes Alexandra more alone than ever-she has no one.

 

The rest of the book is just as good and sad. You need to read it for yourself. You’ll love it just like my book club did.

Alexandra is the best character. She has extreme intelligence but also enjoys doing housework, baking, and as beautiful as she is brainy. She kind, caring, compassionate, and doesn’t live her life following the rules and dictates of other people.

“Don’t come to me again telling me what people say. Let people go on talking as they like, and we will go on living as we think best. ” pg. 60

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: This Present Darkness

For more on O Pioneers, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

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30) Your Opinion About Your Body and How Comfortable You Are With It

Let me just say that I don’t love everything about me.

anthony-michael-hall-brian-insecure-quotes-the breakfast club see myself don't like what i see insecure body image

I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. So let’s go down the list.

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Hair

carefulofMyHairTookHours

Upside: My hair is a pretty shade of brown, a golden brown. It also is thick and grows fast

Downside: When I want it to dry it takes FOREVER. When I want it to be wet it dries instantly. It is normally straight, but there is a section that wants to just curl the opposite way. And a pinch of moisture in the air? Instant frizz. I have bangs and there is one section that will not lie flat no matter what, it always is sticking out. And any curl or wave added? Lasts about an hour then gone. My hair pretty much does whatever it wants to.

hair no control

For more on my hair, go to That Girl is Poison

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Eyes

Pros: I have beautiful green eyes that sometimes change to blue; you know the type of eyes everyone dreams off. Plus thanks to my Mexican heritage they are slightly almond-shaped.

Cons: I have to wear glasses, all the time. My eyes are pretty weak and I have to wear a high strength. I wish I had perfect eyesight, it would be pretty amazing to wake up and be able to see everything instead of blobby shapes.

I don’t mind the glasses that much, it just makes things a little more difficult like cooking, swimming, sports, costumes, etc.

glassesnotafashionaccessory

For more on glasses, go to You Look Beautiful Just the Way You Are: How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

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Jaw

Jaws-wrong-shark-dreyfuss-scheider

Chief Brody (Good): I have a cute little chin

Bruce the Shark (Bad): I have a small chin and small jaw. This meant I needed braces twice to fix all my teeth how they needed to be, and make sure none fell behind the others, along with making it hard to take big bites out of anything.

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Skin

Pale

I’m Mexican, Danish, and Italian. Unlike my other siblings, I only inherited the Danish genes and therefore have pale skin that does not tan, but burns or remains light. Needless to say the sun and I don’t do very well together.

the sun

If it’s not making me sweat overtime, then it is knocking my out as barely anytime spent outdoors in it makes me extremely fatigued.

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Height

ShortLittleLegs

I’m only 5’3. Besides from being the same height as Poison Ivy, there isn’t that many positives. People think you are younger, it is hard to find clothes that fit right, you are always being knocked into or passed over. Not to mention trying to see concerts or other things. It’s hard out there for us small ones.

short people

For more on being short go to Ya Bothering Me

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Body Size

body issues

My body size has never been exactly what I want. In my ratio of boobs to butt, my boobs are much smaller, making it hard to find dresses that fit right. I have abnormally large knees, causing difficulties when buying pants. I have a large but, but little hips. My torso or legs are not as long as I would like them to be. My stomach not as flat as I would wish. And I have an ugly belly button, because it was burned close as a baby.

anthony-michael-hall-brian-insecure-quotes-the breakfast club see myself don't like what i see insecure body image

In fact this displeasure caused me to become an anorexic back when I was 17. I’m better now, but I’ve had a few resurrections of the disease. And while I’m not 100% pleased with what I have, I no longer hate my body like I did as a teenager. Instead I’m just blessed to be alive.

bodyimageloveself

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how you look

It’s so easy to see what we see in the mirror everyday and hate on it, but never forget that with all your flaws you are beautiful.

odd&imperfect

So be yourself.

beyourownkindofbeautiful

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That concludes this 30 Day Challenge. I’m actually glad to see it over, writing about myself was nowhere near as awesome as writing about Disney, or reviewing horror films. It was a nice change, but if I was to do a 30 Day Challenge next year, I’m thinking books or movies.

Pretty much

I hope you all enjoyed it. If you missed out on a day, be sure to pop over to 30 Day Challenge: All About Me for the full month’s listings. Or you can go to Musical Madness to start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning.

Comment below if there was anything about myself that I didn’t write about that you’d love to know and I will post on it!