Saturday, October 30, 2010
Stone Angel Review
Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence was another of the re-reads on my list of books to read. When I read it in high school, Stone Angel was my independent study novel. I chose it by default - my sister already had a copy. I read through it in a day (yes, I did the same the first time I read Who Has Seen the Wind as well - I admit I was a bit of a procrastinator!) and gave my presentation the next day. That I earned an A was amazing, that my class voted my presentation as the best in class was even better!
Stone Angel is the story of Hagar Shipley an elderly yet stubborn and acrimonious woman. The novel gives insight into the early days of Hagar's life as seen through her eyes in her last days. Laurence manages to give the reader a perfect anti-hero. Hagar is in no way a sympathetic character. She's prejudiced and unfriendly to everyone, starting as a child. But by the end of the book, you feel sorry for her, because as much as she and the reader realize that she's lost so much because of her actions and words, it's too late and she knows it. Even in her dying days she can't find a way to tell those around her, those who care for her the most that she loves them.
The book starts out slow and I wondered where the plot was going, but about halfway through I figured out that this was not a story but a character study. Everything we see is through Hagar and until our eyes open and see like her we can't understand what the Laurence wants us to.
I'm not giving Stone Angel a rating, since I this time around i read it as a writer, and for that purpose Laurence succeeded. Character's hold a book together. They don't always have to be likable, or be saved in the end, or even changed in a way other's can see. they only have to change in a way the reader can understand.
As for the presentation I did I dressed as Hagar and gave her review of the book. Letting her character speak for herself.
On my iPod:
Little Sparrow by David Cook