Skip to main content

Review: Some Everyday Folk and Dawn, by Miles Franklin


Pages: 347
Original date of publication: 1909
My edition: 1986 (Virago Modern Classics)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: Amazon UK, June 2012

Some Everyday Folk and Dawn is set during a monumental time in Australian history: women have just achieved suffrage, and the defining moment of this novel is the first election in which they have the ability to vote. The women’s suffrage movement in Australia, like its counterparts in the US and Britain, had its roots in the 19th century, but it seems as though it was met with a lot less resistance. This novel deals with the ways in which the town of Noonoon, in New South Wales (the Everyday Folk of the title), deal with this change, as two candidates come to town: one who puts himself forward as the “women’s candidate” and the other for the men.

On a more immediate novel, the books is set around a boarding house in Noonoon run by Grandma Clay, a fierce, energetic, and talkative woman who lives with her granddaughter Dawn and grandson Andrew. The immediate story is the development of a love affair between Dawn and a local athlete named Ernest Breslow (although she fights her attraction to him; Dawn is surprisingly pragmatic for her age). Their story is narrated through the point of view of our unnamed narrator, an actress who comes to the town to recuperate from an unspecified illness.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story—both the love story and the overall theme about the differences between women and men. I think the back cover made it seem as though there would be much more conflict between the townspeople over the issue of suffrage, but the real struggle, and the real focus of the book, is the struggle that Dawn faces: should she choose her ambition to be an actress, or should she choose marriage? I think the modern reader might be disappointed with her choice, but I can see why, from Dawn’s point of view, she chose to do what she did.

I also enjoyed miles Franklin’s style of writing. There’s also a clear difference between her writing style in My Brilliant Career and Some Everyday Folk and Dawn; after all, she was 8 years older when she wrote the second book, so her style in this book is far more mature. Still, I thought there were places where our narrator thought she was a little too flippantly clever, and a little too self-serving, such as in the matter of matchmaking. Still, I really enjoyed this book.


Comments

I'm not familiar with this author. The book sounds interesting. I have family in NSW.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Invitation to the Waltz, by Rosamond Lehmann

Pages: 304Original date of publication: 1931My edition: Why I decided to read: I found this while looking on ebay for Virago Modern ClassicsHow I acquired my copy: bought secondhand on ebayInvitation to the Waltz is one of those coming-of-age-stories. Unlike, for example, The Crowded Street, which focuses on a young woman’s entire coming-of-age experience, Invitation to the Waltz focuses on just one moment in seventeen-year-old Olivia Curtis’s life: a coming-out ball, the seminal moment in the life of any girl of the period (approximately the 1920s). Olivia is neither the most beautiful nor the most vivacious girl at the party, and she’s apprehensive about the evening and all it entails. This is not one of those “high action” books, but it gives a lot of insight into the thoughts and feelings of a girl making the leap into adulthood. I think if I had read this book ten years ago, I would have completely identified with Olivia—she’s shy and retiring, and unsure of herself. Her dress is…

The Sunday Salon

What a crazy week this has been! My cousin, who’s ten, was in town for most of this past week, and since he’s high energy, it’s taken a lot of energy especially out of my mom, who also had to deal with my 87-year-old grandmother. Plus. my sister was in town for the weekend, so it’s been mostly crazy around here. All of my posts this past week have been scheduled; and I only got around to writing a bunch of outstanding reviews yesterday afternoon. It’s quieter here now that my mom has driven my sister back to New York, and I’ve spent much of today catching up on sleep and, of course, reading. Right now I’m reading one of my Virago Modern Classics: The Rising Tide, by Molly Keane (though it was originally published under her pseudonym MJ Farrell). I’m really loving it; the author really knew how to combine wonderful (sometimes exasperating) characters with a great plot. I’ve been cruising Ebay for more books by Molly Keane, since I’m living her writing style. This is easily one of the b…

Read in 2014

January:
1. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
2. The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, by Tony Attwood
3. Mozart and the Whale, by Mary and Jerry Newport
4. Handling the Truth, by Beth Kephart
5. Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen
6. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
7. Them, by Joyce Carol Oates
8. Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys

February:
1. Random Family, by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
2. I Was Told There'd Be Cake, by Sloane Crosley
3. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
4. Twilight Sleep, by Edith Wharton
5. Twirling Naked in the Streets, by Jeannie Davide-Rivera
6. Hungry Hill, by Daphne Du Maurier
7. Me, Myself, and Why, by Jennifer Ouilette
8. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by DH Lawrence
9. The Wise Virgins, by Leonard Woolf

March:
1. Out With It, by Katherine Preston
2. Never Have I Ever, by Katie Heaney
3. Look me in the Eye, by John Elder Robison
4. Beyond, the Glass, by Antonia White
5. Atypical, by Jesse Saperstein
6. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O'Far…