Thursday, October 20, 2011

His Family (Pulitzer Winning Novel)

And when you come after me, my dear, oh, how hungry I shall be for all you will tell me. For you will live on in our children's lives.
While reading Ernest Poole’s novel His Family, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that this was a novel written almost a hundred years ago and not a more recent novel set in the 1910’s. The novel seems timeless. It tells the story of a father dealing with his grown-up daughters. I see this theme playing out in the lives of the people around me, including one of my cousins who has three grown-up daughters. His Family was the first novel to receive the Pulitzer Prize for a Novel, and so begins my own adventure reading this esteemed group of novels and fiction.

Briefly, Roger Gale is a widower, who lives in New York, with three grown-up daughters. Edith is the traditional one, with a husband and three children. She builds her life around her family. Deborah, who lives with Roger, has a brood of thousands, so to speak. She is what I would call a social reformer. She heads a school—later schools—and tries to better the lives of the people living in the tenements. Roger wants her to settle down with Allan, a doctor who has been courting her for years. Laura is the free spirited child. She only wants to have fun and does not want to have children. She marries a man, and they go off to Paris. His Family tells the story of how Roger and his daughters adjust to the changing times of the 1910’s, including the beginning of World War I.

His Family is a beautiful story, still relevant to today. Roger is a loving, caring father, who is easy to relate to. The setting was fascinating to me. The 1910’s were the height of the Progressive Era, when so many social reforms were going on, including Women’s Suffrage. I can only hope that most of the Pulitzer winning novels will be as interesting as this one.

No comments: