Have I read this before: I don’t think so. When I chose this book I thought I’d read it in junior high as one of my first books off my list, but I feel like I certainly would have remembered this story if I had.
Review: The alternate title for this should have been “An Anti-Tourism Pamphlet for the Small Town American Midwest.” I get that it’s a satirical take on small towns in the US, but holy crap. Lewis does do a good job of making Gopher Prairie (one of the said small towns) incredibly unappealing to Carol, the main character who came from a bigger city, but very homey and endearing to her husband, who is from the town. This was a very frustrating (but engaging) read because it’s hundreds of pages of Carol trying to better the town, the townspeople shutting down her ideas, Carol trying to conform to their ways, the townspeople shunning her because of where she came from, and this constant war she has with herself over feeling like she is basically losing every aspect of herself by being beaten down by the small town life (and trying to conform to it) and feeling guilty about wanting out and wanting to go back to the city.
Favorite part: As someone who grew up in a relatively small town (Moscow) and moved to a big city (Calgary), I really related to Will (Carol’s husband) upon returning to Gopher Prairie after an extended time away. He finds joy in the smallest, simplest changes about the town that he notices, like a new sign on a store or a neighbor’s new roof. I feel like I have that same sort of reaction every time I go back to Moscow, haha.