Saturday, April 28

Book Review: My Ántonia

Title: My Ántonia

Author: Willa Cather

Pages: 272

Summary: Willa Cather recognized the power of My Ántonia when she said it was "the best thing [she had] done." Written in 1918, My Ántonia explores the ideals of Manifest Destiny, the early-American push to expand westward, and the immigrants pursuit of the American dream. The narrator, Ántonia Shimerda, on the unsettled plains of Nebraska, where poverty, danger, and tragedy are ready to (and do) strike at any moment. When her father dies Ántonia must sacrifice her education and friendships to work in the house and the family fields. These experiences fortify Ántonia for the struggles that she faces after leaving the family farm to pursue her own path in life. Cather depicts Ántonia as a woman whose unyielding spirit makes her emblematic of the qualities Cather found most admirable in the American people and their pursuit of happiness.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book:  For the most part, this was an enjoyable read, it may have slowed at times, but that also worked for this particular book.

I enjoyed how the author told Antonia's story through the through the eyes of her childhood friend. Although part of me want to follow Antonia's path and see the world through her eyes or at least have more of the focus on her, the effect on the story and the main character's story wouldn't have been the same if it were done any other way. It added something extra, having her life retold by another, through their observations and experiences a lot was left out, and I did feel we didn't get a chance to get into the deep inner emotions of Antonia, the reader still got an in-depth glimpse of her life and development.  Antonia was a well written character, but I did find some of the other characters lacked some of the development given to Antonia's character.

The book also does a good job at showing families trying to live the American dream and all the struggles that come with it. I thought the author did a good job at showing the reader how the families struggled and what life was like for families during this time period. Although, there were times I found the story dragged a bit, I did find this historical side interesting.

Overall it was a good read, and I would definitely try the author again.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, very well written ad a good story
What to read next: I'd try out the author again. Edith Wharton and Kate Chopin would also be authors to check out.


  1. I want to read Willa Cather. I feel like not having read her is a gaping hole in my American history reading.

    1. This was my first time reading her work, and I will be reading more by her in the future. Great writer. I've heard good things about her other works, they may be a better starting point than this one. 1morechapter mentions on bellow, One of Ours.

  2. Grew up in this area so appreciate her works. I next want to read her Pulitzer winner, One of Ours.

    1. I have that book on my Kobo, so it may be my next read by the author. Interesting you grew up in the area book takes place.

    2. I didn't know she'd won a Pulitzer, and I haven't heard of One of Ours. Must check it out.