I went back to this book today, and fell in love again with Jewett's smooth, modest prose and her humble but deep-rooted characters. These are stories, not of heroic soldiers and violence and striving after lost treasures, but of simple people as plain as most of us -- just everyday folks trying to take pleasure in their little lives. Reading her again today makes me see, again, that this is the kind of reading I most enjoy, and the kind I should spend most of my reading time with. Robert Louis Stevenson might write graceful sentences, but some of his writing seems shallow and ultimately unimportant to me. The Black Arrow had strong writing in it, but it was ultimately all about pretty wicked people doing wicked things to each other. Give me Sarah Jewett and her basically good people trying to be as good as possible.
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