A Girl of the Limberlost
Of all the books written by Hoosier writers, Gene Stratton-Porter's "A Girl of the Limberlost" is unquestionably the most cherished: the timeless story of an impoverished young girl, Elnora Comstock, growing up on the edge of the Limberlost swamp. Elnora attends school against her mother's wishes, fighting every inch of the way for her dream of an education, and collects and sells moths and other rare biological specimens from the swamp to pay for her schooling, books, and bare necessities. At first a laughingstock of her fellow students, Elnora persists against unfair odds, and asserts her true self. Gene Stratton-Porter's "A Girl of the Limberlost" provides a wonderful discovery of identity, wonders of nature, friendship, family trust, love, and the process of growing up in the magical shadow of the Limberlost. Elnora's struggles can be related to by any girl today, and her triumph is purely her own. A lovely theme in the book allows each character to come to life as a caterpillar, spend a time in a cocoon, then emerge finally as a beautiful moth. Elnora's mother's transformation is particularly splendid. The ecological concerns of the novel convince the reader that our "modern" problems are mere variations on a theme. The fresh foray into a simpler, if not nobler, time-and the reverence for hard work, creativity, and strict moral standards--are refreshing. In the words of one reviewer, "Shelve Titanic, and read Gene Stratton-Porter's book instead."
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