Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How Kathleen Norris Ruined My Life

My Grandma plied me
with Kathleen Norris novels
when I was a girl,
and full of romantic dreams.
Little Ships, Saturday's Child,
The Heart of Rachael,
I gobbled them all.
In these books,
the heroine was good and true,
and by the end of the tale
had made the right moral choices.
All worked out in the end.

Oh, I believed!

As my Grandma
watched with sorrowful eyes
my bumpy journey of discovery
- and of recovery from
all the disillusionment thereof -
she was known to remark sadly
that she should never have given me
Kathleen Norris books,
because they didn't prepare me well
for real life.

She was right.
But how I loved
the gentle world of Kathleen Norris,
where character always won out in the end,
and the world was clean and kind.

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Books


  1. SherryI can relate, to your experience, with your grandmother, in my case, it was my ddad introducing me, to Wilbur Smith, and hus manly men, who got their women, that they were pursuing.


    A far cry, from the reality of my daily life.

  2. reality / truth upsets most of the time...yet those book journey moments of pleasure and love for words also hopefully become part of reality too..

  3. I enjoyed this very much, Sherry. There is certainly a discrepancy between the worlds we read and imagine and the worlds in which we actually live.

  4. I don't know. I think in some ways those books prepared you to be a good woman of character. Though I guess, they now contrast to sharply with the disappointments of life. Enjoyed reading this so much.

  5. Mine was Mary Stewart romances--the same Mary Stewart of Arthur and Merlin, but in these books marriage and love made a comedy. I never thought of them as comic, though. So happy that I met feminists after my divorce.

  6. What a wonderful poem. It sparked my :What if". We were not encouraged to read in my household.

  7. Grandma did good !:)Everyone deserves a protected childhood. Reality will strike soon enough.Although some of us in arrested development never have that reality experience:)

  8. Whatever the character's actions and life and however different from our own reading is an education, broadening our minds, and equipping us to live and cope with our lives as well.

  9. They sound very charming, and a source of sweet memories even now. Perhaps a greater variety of reading material would have made a balance.

  10. I so identify with this! To this day, when choosing a book, I will thumb to the last page to see if it "ends right". My daughter is horrified by that habit and threatens to send me the best book ever, but remove the last chapter until I've convinced her I've read the book!

  11. Your reality is your reality, and I think you are embracing it, despite the obvious discrepancies between your life and the imaginary one of the Kathleen Norris novels.

  12. I was a veracious reader, even as a child. My Mother trusted the Catholic School Library where I attended school, until, in seventh grade, she found the word "Harlot" in Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth". She blamed me for reading 'filth', not the nuns who operated that library. I just went right on reading.


  13. It is also good to be aware of them and their story-line to be able to anticipate well!


  14. She did right, Sherry, grans always know best :)

    As you do now ...

  15. My grandma had all of these old books from her childhood and schooling that I grew up reading and loving. Some that would be considered "politically incorrect" nowadays. I'd love to see and read them again but when she passed they disappeared into the family never to be seen again. I miss things like that.


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