Little Woman: A Novel

3.68 avg rating
( 41 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780060923235: Little Woman: A Novel

Beauty Skinner is, as she herself admits, a woman to whom small men have never been indifferent, that most unfortunate of females, a "big girl." Beauty is fated to be the subject of unbelieving stares, to stop conversations, and to realize with every lumbering step that towering ungainliness is the inescapable fact of her life.

But in Ellen Akins's fierce comedy Little Woman, escape is precisely what Beauty manages. After almost accidentally killing her twin sons (the product of a peculiar marriage into which she has stumbled), Beauty decides to head for greener pastures alone. Her cunning plan: to set up a rural shelter where needy women can be rehabilitated, a shelter that is designed to fail quickly, leaving Beauty a cozy retreat of her own. Her willing tool: the guileless philanthropist-heiress Clara Bow Cole, who is all too pleased to apply her wealth to this altruistic adventure. A plot of land and a house are secured, a group of down-and-out women is solicited, and Clara Bow and Beauty depart for the wilds of Wisconsin to await their charges.

What arrives, however, are hardly the wretched souls that Beauty has anticipated. Molly, Kathy, Gigi, Lynn, Cathy, Elizabeth, Cora, Joan, Barbie, and Mary Belinda are, in fact, a ferocious and intractable crew. Thieves, drunkards, and runaways, they greet their new life with a raunchy stubbornness that leaves Beauty nonplussed as she becomes determined to make her bogus venture work. She insists that her diffident charges eke an existence out of the wilderness, a task that turns their colony into something like Robinson Crusoe's island in a bad year, and its occupants a distaff counterpart of Lord of the Flies.

While its heroines' battles to survive nature--and one another--have hilarious (and ultimately tragic) consequences, Little Woman takes an unsparing look at the struggle to form families and communities, and how people's need for control renders any sort of bond between them suspicious.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Ellen Akins is the author of the novels Home MovieLittle WomanPublic Life, and Hometown Brew, and the short story collection World Like a Knife. She has published short stories in The Southern ReviewThe Georgia ReviewThe Missouri Review, and The Southwest Review, which (the last two) awarded her their biennial short fiction awards. Her work has also appeared in online publications such as Serving House Journal. She has written reviews for numerous publications and is a regular contributor to The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Akins is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Whiting Foundation, the Ingram-Merrill Foundation, the National Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. She offers coaching, editing, and critiquing services via email through the Loft Literary Center.

From Publishers Weekly:

The witty, eccentric authority that fueled Akins's Home Movie has been watered down for her second novel. Narrated by Beauty Skinner, whose excessive height has made her feel odd and unlovable all her life, this lively, slightly cranky, frequently elliptical tale tells of a woman's commune called "Women Abreast" that gathers under Beauty's leadership in a house called "Mother" near the northern Wisconsin town of Cornucopia. Ostensibly funded by heiress Clara Bow Cole, a woman "so short that her height would bear repeating," the group is attempting rehabilitation by surviving rigorous challenges that will "test their mettle." Along with the others--clearly limned characters such as the six-time bigamist Cathy, the extraordinarily passive Joan, rifle-toting Kathy, three battered wives, a thief and an abortionist--Beauty herself seeks to ignore or revise a past that includes having run away from her husband and infant twins, who were so small she was sure she would hurt them. In breezy prose, Akins delivers memorable characters, game in the face of pain and bad luck, but the story remains, even with its suggestion of redemption for Beauty, as aimless and unfocused as many of the women of Women Abreast.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

AKINS, ELLEN
Published by HARPER PERENNIAL (1993)
ISBN 10: 0060923237 ISBN 13: 9780060923235
New Paperback First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Fleamarketbooks
(Luzerne, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HARPER PERENNIAL, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. First Edition. {NEW} Trade-Size Paperback; First Edition. Remainder mark on bottom of page edges. Bookseller Inventory # 97947

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 3.56
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Ellen Akins
ISBN 10: 0060923237 ISBN 13: 9780060923235
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Castle Rock
(Pittsford, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800609232351.0

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 12.80
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Ellen Akins
Published by Perennial (1993)
ISBN 10: 0060923237 ISBN 13: 9780060923235
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Perennial, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060923237

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 80.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds