A New England Girlhood Outlined from Memory
By Lucy Larcom
This book is not a diary nor a journal but seemingly a new genre, a collection of memories of Lucy Larcom. It follows the author from a toddler to early adulthood. The values and morals woven into her live should be a lesson to all of us. Born in 1821, she moved with her family to Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1830s after the death of her shipmaster father. Originally published in 1889, her autobiography offers glimpses of the early years of the American industrial and social development.
Two of her memories strike me. As soon as the children were thought capable of learning their letters they were sent off to ...view middle of the document...
While attending church service Lucy memorized the hymnbook in an attempt to sit still. She would then recite the songs to her mother while she ironed or cooked in the kitchen, knowing it delighted her.
Lucy and her mother wanted to further her learning by sending her to college but they hadn't the money. It was hard enough to support her and her brother's and sisters. In order to make ends meat her mother ran a boarding house and eleven-year-old Lucy Larcom went to work in a textile mill like many farm girls her age.
The book is intertwined with poems, stories, people, and encounters she has remembered since childhood. Because of that I found that her childhood was much more interesting than that of adolescence and adulthood. Memories seem to be more charming when told through innocent eyes. It was powerful as you got to understand the author in childhood and then watched her mature as if you were her best friend. She went through many struggles, as the times were hard then. You constantly want to point her in the right direction.
America has changed so drastically changed since the 111 years after this book was written. Our culture has evolved into a complex lifestyle forgetting the little things in life. Back then, she writes young girls were not allowed to play with boys if they were not their brothers. I cannot say that this book would delight a large audience aside from those wanting a glance into the past. Note to reader, have an open mind. You will warm your heart if you are able to catch the insights into a simpler time and place.
Book was 300 pages long.