C.J. from ebookclassics was kind enough to pass along her copy of Miss Emily to me after she was done reading it (her review). She had a hunch it might be something I would like, and she was right. Thanks, C.J.!
I read Miss Emily way back in July on one of our camping trips, and it was the perfect book to take with me. The chapters alternate between Emily Dickinson and her housemaid, Ada, making for a quick and engaging read. I got to learn more about Emily Dickinson’s life with her family, her ever-increasing resistance to leaving her house, her propensity to wear the colour white, her moods, and her obsession with words.
At night, when I am not too bone weary, I dream. I would love to live in the softer planet of dreams. But if I cannot live in dreamworlds… then I am content to invent parallel worlds. Places of the imagination that I alone can inhabit. And these destinations are made of words.
The rustling passions of life are contained more truly for me in words of poetry than in the everyday world. Life, as lived, is so desolate at times.
Emily befriends her new housemaid, Ada, who has recently arrived from Ireland. Emily’s family, and her friend Susan, are not entirely comfortable with the friendship between them. Ada is both Irish and a servant; two good reasons to show superiority instead of friendship. But, after Ada finds herself in need of some help, Emily is determined to go against her family and stand up for her.
It strikes me that perhaps it is not possible even to know another, no matter how much we long to.
Miss Emily is short and sweet; I think if you are interested at all in Emily Dickinson, or reading about unlikely friendships and class divisions and the roles of women in the mid-1800s, you would enjoy this book.
… I wondered if freedom is possible for anyone in this life or if we are all doomed to imprisonment one way or another. But no, I thought, there is always hope. It may be small and bald at first, but then it gathers feathers to itself and flies on robust wings.
Bonus: This book describes the making of several kinds of yummy cake; it might be worth reading just for the baking that goes on. When they were making Emily’s birthday cake (a Black Cake), for the first time in my life, I was craving a fruitcake.