I know I should at least give this 3 stars, or 4 stars. The prose was amazing as ever. But it was such a letdown, and I'm not feeling generous at the moment.
This is the story of Frankie Addams, a 12 year old girl at the end of the summer, about to attend her brother's wedding. I don't know about you, but I feel like Frankie was me when I was 12 years old. I was questioning my place in the world. "She was afraid of these things that made her suddenly wonder who she was, and what she was going to be in the world, and why she was standing at that minute, seeing a light, or listening, or staring up into the sky: alone."
And Frankie, she did all sorts of things during her summer, but she couldn't help but feel that there was something missing. She was restless, and no matter what she did, it wasn't what she wanted to do. Then comes her brother and his fiance, and she falls in love with the couple. Finally, she sees this as an opportunity to leave her hometown and become a part of something, no longer alone
I really liked Frankie's insights (see added quotes). "There are all these people here I don't know by sight or by name. And we pass alongside each other and don't have any connection. And they don't know me and I don't know them. And now I'm leaving town and there are all these people I will never know."
Perhaps this is my favorite quote of them all, because this was exactly what I was contemplating a while back. There are so many people in the world, in my hometown there's at least a thousand, and I will never know most of them. It leaves a queer feeling, that I want to be connected to these people.
But to tell the truth, I thought this was a growing up story. If growing up meant being disillusioned, then Frankie grew up in a most disheartening way
. I felt that the book stopped abruptly, and I'm not a fan of endings where things were going great, but then it didn't and it just stopped. It was a 150-pages book, and I don't know why McCullers would just end like that. It's like she was even more melancholic than when she wrote [b:The Heart is a Lonely Hunter|37380|The Heart is a Lonely Hunter|Carson McCullers|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1168914678s/37380.jpg|860196]. Look, I want to be inspired, not dejected. Killing off John Henry like that, and Frankie turning into plain Frances and just letting life pass her by. Where's the big epiphany? That life sucks? I was already aware of that.
And I guess my problem also lies in that I liked the melancholy that was The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and by the time I read The Member of the Wedding I no longer wanted to read another melancholic novel. At least the former novel had redeeming qualities. The Member of the Wedding read too much like The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, with only a "Mick Kelly" as the protagonist.
Sure, it's unfair to judge this book by its predecessor, but I can't help it. The Member of the Wedding is another novel about human isolation, and McCullers already succeeded with [b:The Heart is a Lonely Hunter|37380|The Heart is a Lonely Hunter|Carson McCullers|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1168914678s/37380.jpg|860196].