Review: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton


I hope everyone has had and is still having a fantastic series of celebrations. Minus New Years being in just a few short days, things are finally starting to slow down in my neck of the woods and it feels like I am finally getting back on my feet. As a result, I am getting more of a chance to read more which is great. I am currently reading Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I am about halfway through it and so far I can say it is fantastic. I love the world Brandon created and I love the narrator’s lack of ability to create metaphors. More on that in a future post though.

Today I wanted to share with you one of the books I already own and FINALLY finished reading: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.


The reason why I picked up this book was because I heard Bennett Madison, author of September Girls, mention how he liked Edith Wharton during one of his Q and As. I don’t remember if it was a specific book by her, or if it was all of her books, but while I was browsing in a bookstore one day I thought of that, so I bought this one because I was curious since that had stuck in my memory and I was curious.

And boy! I am glad I did.

I will read things considered classics, but usually I struggle through them because the language and pacing is a lot different than what I am used to. I was blown away by how readable Ethan Frome was for me and I ended up immensely enjoying it.

First off. I had this sense of dread the entire time reading the novel. It is told in a similar manner as The Great Gatsby where the story largely revolved around a different character instead of the narrator. The narrator meets Ethan after the events in this story takes place, is curious about him and then shares with us Ethan’s devastating past. We know whatever is going to happen in this book is terrible and sad, because we see Ethan in present day and he is crippled, looks extremely depressed and lonely. As I was reading more and more about Ethan’s story I kept cringing because he was pretty much playing with fire. I think wanting to see how everything was going to come crashing down was what drove me to keep reading this. That among other things. 🙂

One of the other reasons why I ended up loving this short little book (it’s only about 140 pages) was how tragic it ended up being. All of the characters that are part of Ethan’s story are stuck in these terrible positions that they partly brought onto themselves through rash decisions, but were partly just the hand they were dealt in life. While there were times where I was not even sure if I liked the characters I still felt bad for all of them. And speaking of the characters, I love them more because I did not like all of them. They were so layered and trying to understand them and their motivations made them so much more interesting.

So would I reread this book again? I don’t know. I feel like now that I have read this though this is one of those books where you might just start to crave during the middle of a cold, harsh, depressing January (if you live in the Midwest at least). Regardless if I will reread it, I am incredibly happy that I read Ethan Frome so thank you PT friend for making me so focused on goals, thank you Bennett for mentioning Edith Wharton, and thank you bookstore for existing so I can happen upon this book.

I would recommend this for anyone who likes heart wrenching tragic stories, those that read The Great Gatsby and liked it, and for anyone who wants to write. Wharton excels so much at characterization, setting, and beautiful writing, which is why this would be a great tool for anyone who writes and wants to read novels that are written extremely well.

Fun fact: Edith Wharton is the first woman who won the Pulitzer Prize! She also designed her own house, which is pretty neat.

Add this book to your to-read shelf on! (If you want. I don’t mean to sound so demanding 🙂 ).


2/95 books to read
This is part of my reading pursuits I mentioned in this blog post.


One thought on “Review: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

  1. Pingback: Happy Birthday Edith Warton | waldina

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