Friday, October 22, 2010

Thank Heaven Fasting, E. M. Delafield

I have a huge stack (spanning my bedroom floor to the bottom of the light switch plate) of Virago Modern Classics that I have not yet read. Thank Heaven Fasting is one of those books. I didn't know what to expect as I began to read and that is probably for the best because reading a book about the harsh reality of spinterhood when you are an actual real life spinster can be a difficult experience and I might not have decided to read this one if I had known about the theme.

This book did three things for this spinster:

1. Reminded me how lucky I am to be alive in the modern world and not stuck in Edwardian Britain like Monica (or any number of places in time when my life truly would have had no other option than marriage). For all I might sometimes wish I was married rather than single I do have an education and career of my own choosing and the freedom to make my own choices. And I'm happy! Society at large isn't convinced that something is deeply wrong with me and no one is thinking I should marry Mr. Collins which is who I kept picturing everytime Mr. Pelham entered the scene.

I'm sad this video won't embed but it is an awesome combination of this scene from different versions of Pride & Prejudice.

2. Made me laugh and force Nora to listen to select passages that apply to pairs of spinster sisters:

On Monica's friends, Cecily & Frederica-
"But women who want to get married, and can't, often turn very queer as they grow older."
Monica felt little beads of cold sweat pricking at the roots of her hair.
"Frederica says she doesn't like men."
"Of course," Mrs. Ingram replied impatiently. "They always say that. She'd sing a very different tune if any man ever looked her way." p.155-156

3.Made me a little sad that even though I live in a different time and place some things never change:

"Her eyes grew misty as she tried, vainly, to recapture something of the glamour and excitement that had surrounded her brief, youthful romance. It seemed, actually, to have happened to someone else, for she could not longer revive in herself any spark of the innocent, ignorant confidence in the right of youth to love and happiness that had been hers at the age of eighteen." p.140

I want to read more of E. M. Delafield's books but is seems lots of them are out of print. I'll have to check out the link+ at the library and see what I can find.

"down on your knees, and thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love" -As You Like It, Act III, Scene 5

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