Monday, April 12, 2010

The Spinster Book by Myrtle Reed

222 pages
Published in 1901
G. P. Putnam's Sons
New York and London
The Knickerbocker Press

Up until now I've only reviewed novels by Myrtle Reed, but she was also well known for some non-fiction works (mostly cookbooks). You might consider The Spinster Book in this category as it is not a novel, but more a satirical look at life. Or to be more specific a satirical look at men, women, their relationships, love, courtship, marriage, widow/widowerhood, and the life-long single woman.

When I say satirical I mean Ms. Reed's pen is dipped in truth and told with a serving of salt and vinegar and tongue firmly planted in cheek. And yet, I didn't agree with everything contained in this book. Yes, there were plenty of truths to contemplate, but there were also so misconceptions and a lot of sad and unfortunate views.

Still, I found it fascinating to get a glimpse into the minds of some types of men and women who lived and loved during the earliest years of the 20th century. But what is most valuable about this book is the chance to read and get a better understanding of the inner ticking of Ms. Reed's mind and imagination, both of which led to the creation of the lovable (and sometimes despicable) characters within her novels.

That said, this isn't the book for every reader. If you have a particular interest in the mind of a woman from the early 20th century, you love satirical literature, or if you are a fan of Ms. Reed's novels you will likely find this a fun read. There are plenty of quotable passages and passages that will make you laugh out loud, but this wasn't a book that I would read over and over. I obtained the copy I read from my library's ILL program, but electronic copies are widely available at: The Archive (Librivox audio version), Read Print, Project Gutenberg, Online Literature, and Books Should Be Free (audio).

There are still many novels by Reed that I haven't read and I look forward to them, especially now that I know more about Myrtle Reed's imagination.

Other Reviews of Myrtle Reed's work:

Weaver of Dreams
A Spinner in The Sun
Lavender And Old Lace
The Master's Violin

Related Links:
Tuesday Teaser: A Spinner in the Sun
Tuesday Teaser: Lavender and Old Lace

1 comment: said...

This sounds really good, going to go see if I can find it in a format that works for me.