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Review: Mrs. Miniver, by Jan Struther


Pages: 145

Original date of publication: 1939

My edition: 1993 (Virago)

Why I decided to read: It’s one of the books featured in Ruth Adam’s A Woman’s Place

How I acquired my copy: Online, March 2011

Mrs. Miniver is a novel and collection of essays that focuses on the day-to-day life of a 1930s housewife. The “chapters” are more vignettes that focus on the trivial events of Mrs. Miniver’s life: visits to the dentist’s, the changing of the seasons, holidays with her husband, an architect, and their three children, and Christmas shopping.

All of this sounds, boring, but it’s not. Jan Struther describes Mrs. Miniver’s life poetically, with emphasis on the little details. The essays are a reflective look into the thoughts and feelings of one inter-war housewife (although the story is told in the third person). There’s no plot or character development, but Mrs. Miniver describes her lifelife exquisitely. There’s also a subtle undercurrent of humor to this book, although it’s not quite as laugh-out-loud as DE Stevenson’s Mrs. Tim books or Henrietta’s War, by Joyce Dennys. On the other hand, though, Mrs. Miniver makes some really insightful comments on a wide variety of topics—everything from the impending war to her love of engagement books. There’s not much in the way of plot to this book, but nonetheless, it’s quite wonderful.

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2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…